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Stock Analyst Update

Despite Improving Odds, MGM Isn't the Best Bet

For investors seeking gaming exposure, we think undervalued Wynn Resorts is the better bet.


We don’t expect any significant change to our $29 fair value estimate after no-moat  MGM’s (MGM) 2016 results tracked near our forecasts, leaving shares slightly undervalued. For investors seeking gaming exposure, we highlight that narrow-moat Wynn Resorts is trading at a 25% discount to our valuation and believe the company is well-positioned to benefit from the attractive mid-single-digit annual revenue growth we see in the Macau region over the next decade.

MGM’s 2016 total sales growth of 9% matched our forecast, while adjusted EBITDA of $2.58 billion was slightly above our $2.54 billion estimate. Looking to 2017, it is encouraging that the company expects Las Vegas (64% of total EBITDA) growth in revenue per available room of 4%-5%, well above the 1%-2% growth we expect in the overall U.S. market. MGM is benefiting from accelerating convention activity and its new entertainment center. In fact, MGM already has 90% of its convention space booked for this year. Additionally, MGM expects 7% revPAR growth this quarter, despite going against 8% growth the previous year; this 15% two-year stacked growth would represent its strongest level ever. As a result, we may lift our 2017 Vegas sales growth forecast toward 4% from 2.5%, while maintaining our 2018-25 low-single-digit annual sales growth and EBITDA margins of 33% in 2025 from 29% in 2016.

Macau (20% of total EBITDA) posted a 13% decline in 2016 revenue (in line with our estimate) with a 4% decline in adjusted EBITDA (6% decline). We don’t expect to alter our 2017-25 MGM Macau forecast of 9% annual sales growth with EBITDA margins expanding to 27.5% in 2025 from 27% in 2016. Still, we continued to see signs of near-term stabilization in the Macau region and think MGM stands to participate as the region’s growth increases with the opening of key infrastructure projects in 2018 and 2019. Also, MGM's new casino opens in Cotai later this year, which we believe will provide a market share boost this year and next.

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Dan Wasiolek does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.