MGM Grand is a great deal at $35. Although over the next year or so, earnings growth will be limited because of the upcoming competitiveness in the Vegas market (Bellagio, The Venetian, Paris, and Mandalay Bay), MGM has foreseen this and is spending $700 million to upgrade its flagship property. This will give MGM the ability to hold on to its market share when all the new places open. I don't expect the renovation to increase their market share or earnings, but it will let them hold on to what they have now. MGM also owns half of NYNY and this is one of the best properties in Vegas. NYNY will hold its own when the new resorts come online.|
The only way a casino's profits can substantially increase is by building (or acquiring) new properties. MGM will be building in Detroit and Atlantic City soon. They'll be in a great situation in Detroit, having one of the three precious gaming licenses. In Atlantic City, they'll be one of the new Vegas-style properties that Atlantic City currently lacks. Atlantic City casinos are currently warehouses for gambling. The "big" attraction there now is the new "Wild West" themed casino area at Bally's. The gamblers all flocked there for something new and fun, putting big profits on the bottom line of Bally's. Just imagine what MGM can do with an entire entertainment-themed resort there.
The MGM CFO expects 1998 earnings in the $2.00 to $2.10 range. That gives a forward P/E of about 17. Right now, investors are focused on the upcoming Vegas competition and have depressed MGG's price, but they haven't factored in the growth from Detroit and Atlantic City. In a few years, MGM will be one of the premier diversified gaming operators. With this kind of upside potential, MGG at $35 is a bargain. It's only a matter of time before investors look beyond the short term supply concerns in Vegas and see the big picture.