Las Vegas Sands' 'blowout' 1st Q fails to excite investors

Apr 30, 2012 7:54 PM

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) reported a “blowout” first quarter last week but the numbers failed to excite investors. At the beginning of the week, LVS shares were selling for $56.88 each. At the end of the week, shares had fallen to $55.87.

Yet, during the quarter, the company had record revenues of $2.76 billion and net income of $489.9 million and adjusted earnings of $0.70 cents per share. And, the company reported the directors had declared a cash dividend of $0.25 per share to be paid on June 29 to shareholders of record on June 20.

So, maybe longtime-gaming analyst Harry Curtis, who now crunches numbers for Nomura Equity Research, was right when he questioned “management’s tone” during the conference call following the quarterly reports.

“The tone of LVS’s Q1 earnings call at best can be described as contentious,” wrote Curtis.

“Investors were hoping for a greater level of disclosure of the impact of table hold, early trends at Sands Cotai, and greater clarity on Spain. We sense that LVS was defensive in discussing these topics,” he added.

Yet, despite the concern, Curtis advised that with the falling share price investors should consider buying shares. He said he expected Las Vegas Sands to be generating a run-rate of free cash flow totaling $4.50 per share and felt there was limited downside in the stock.

During the conference call, CEO Sheldon Adelson told listeners, “We’re cooking on all cylinders.” He noted his company was the first casino company to post more than $1 billion in quarterly earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization. He added he believes the company would continue to set records.

Adelson also talked of additional developments in Asia and particularly in Spain where he sees a multi-billion development in either Madrid or Barcelona.

Following the discussions, Zacks Equity Research said it remained “bullish” regarding the growth prospects of Las Vegas Sands in Macau and Singapore and had a short-term “buy” rating on the company’s shares.