Company holds a stake in Melco Crown Entertainment, a joint venture in the Macau casino market

The 2009 net loss of Melco International Development was 77 percent higher than analysts’ consensus estimates.

Hong Kong-listed Melco - which holds a stake in Melco Crown Entertainment, the joint venture with Crown Ltd. of Australia in the Macau casino market - said its loss for the 12 months ended December 31 totaled HK$1.45 billion (US$190 million). Analysts had predicted a net loss of HK$815.3 million.

On the plus side, the loss was an improvement over 2008’s HK$2.36 billion in red ink.

Revenue for the year rose 2.7 percent to HK$709.6 million.

The company, controlled by Lawrence Ho, son of Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, reportedly has been hit by a slowdown in VIP business at Altira Macau, the high-end casino operated by Melco Crown.

Melco Crown cancelled its contract with leading junket operator Amax Holdings following the Macau government’s decision last year to cap junket commissions at 1.25 percent. Amax, which acted as a middleman between the casino and junket agents, had previously earned a 1.35 percent commission from Melco Crown.