Las Vegas Sands' Miss Is Company Specific; Opportunity in Wynn and Melco Crown

Includes: LVS, MLCO, WYNN
by: Mike Maher

Shares of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) are down $5 after reporting first quarter results after the close on Tuesday. The company-- which owns and operates casinos in Macau, Singapore, and its namesake Las Vegas-- reported adjusted earnings of 37 cents a share, below analyst estimates. The company blamed a low hold on rolling play for lowering Singapore revenue by about $30 million, and lower hold from table games in Las Vegas for reducing revenue there for about $45 million.

The action in LVS is dragging down shares of both Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) and of Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL), both of which are down about 2% after hours. I believe this is a mistake, particularly because LVS reported that operations in Macau were very strong, with EBITDA increasing 46.1% to $378.6 million, a record for LVS. In addition, the firm saw EBITDA margins increase to 33.4% for Sands China. A strong Macau market was also evident when Wynn Resorts reported first quarter results on April 19th, and reported strong EBITDA of $272.8 in Macau, up 50.2% YoY. Macau as a whole saw gaming revenue increase 44.6% in April, helping the total gaming revenue for the first four months of 2011 increase 43.3%.

Las Vegas Sands is being punished for missing expectations, but as anyone who has ever been to a casino knows, the house always wins. Expect the company to raise the hold percentage in both Singapore and Las Vegas going forward, while continuing to benefit from strong growth in Macau. Additionally, any weakness in Wynn Resorts or Melco Crown are likely opportunities, since shares are being hurt by events that are specific to LVS. Melco Crown is set to report earnings May 19, and judging by results from the competition, the quarter should be strong. Shares of Melco have run up nearly $4 in the last 2 months, so any pullback in the shares should be seen by investors as a chance to get into this high growth name.

Disclosure: I am long MPEL and MPEL calls.

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