EARNINGS PREVIEW: Large US Casinos Helped By Macau Growth

Date : 07/26/2010 @ 10:56AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD)
Quote : 37.21  1.05 (2.90%) @ 3:59PM

EARNINGS PREVIEW: Large US Casinos Helped By Macau Growth

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TAKING THE PULSE: Casino companies are expecting improved second-quarter results compared with a year earlier as gambling activity remained muted in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Business in Las Vegas remains weak, although convention bookings are picking up. The market also is suffering from thousands of rooms added with the opening in December of the $8.5 billion CityCenter resort and other new hotel towers. In Macau, an island off China that is the world's biggest gambling center, gross gambling revenue in June jumped 65% from a year earlier but fell 20% from May's record, likely because the soccer World Cup suppressed high-stakes gambling.

Penn National Gaming Inc.'s (PENN) results, reported Thursday, topped Wall Street's expectations, though earnings dropped 68% as the casino and racetrack operator posted $30.6 million in write-downs and demand remained soft. Still, the company--which operates 19 casino and horse-racing facilities in 14 states and Ontario but not in Las Vegas--boosted 2010 estimates.


Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) - reports Wednesday

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts estimate earnings of 9 cents a share on revenue of $1.6 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. A year earlier, Sands had a loss of 34 cents a share --or a profit of 1 cent a share excluding write-downs and other impacts--on $1.06 billion in revenue minus promotional allowances.

Key Issues: The casino giant, best known for the Venetian resorts in Las Vegas and Macau, had a first-quarter profit--its first period in the black in two years--on record revenue. It is benefitting from the world's most expensive casino, its new $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands on Singapore's main waterfront. All phases of that project, including a convention center, are expected to be completed in the coming months.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) - reports Thursday

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts predict earnings of 42 cents a share on revenue of $991 million. A year earlier, the company reported a profit of 21 cents a share, including 12 cents a share of gains, on revenue of $723.3 million.

Key Issues: Wynn, which has a stronger balance sheet than most of its rivals, last week said its Las Vegas business' second-quarter loss widened though revenue rose slightly. The company has seen most of its growth in Macau and now receives a majority of its revenue from Asia. Ratings agencies have applauded Wynn's results there and its planned move to refinance $1.32 billion in mortgage notes.

Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) - reports Aug. 3

Wall Street Expectations: The Las Vegas-focused company is seen posting a profit of 11 cents a share on revenue of $592 million, compared with earnings of 15 cents a share on revenue $423 million a year earlier.

Key Issues: One of the oldest Las Vegas gambling companies, Boyd attracts many locals, who are struggling with declining home values and job losses. Concerns remain about Boyd's debt load, with Moody's Investors Service expecting the company to be among the last casino operators to recover from the economic downturn. Boyd has been trying to buy rival Station Casinos, which will be auctioned in a bankruptcy court next month.

MGM Resorts International (MGM) - reports Aug. 3

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts predict a loss of 24 cents a share on revenue of $1.46 billion. A year earlier, the casino giant reported a loss of 60 cents a share--or 15 cents a share excluding charges--on revenue of $1.49 billion.

Key Issues: The company, which changed its name from MGM Mirage last month, has improved its liquidity by refinancing some of its huge debt load. But it is increasingly dependent on a recovery in Las Vegas after the opening of CityCenter, which is expected to be in the black in the second quarter on higher occupancy. The company hopes to raise capital in part with an initial public offering of its Macau joint venture.

(The Thomson Reuters estimate and year-ago figures may not be comparable due to one-time items and other adjustments.)

-By Kathy Shwiff, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2357; Kathy.Shwiff@dowjones.com


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