Lex 2010-03-12

The US is a nation of gamblers, be it in property and stocks if not on the turn of a card. But while punters are returning to the tables as the economy recovers, they are still betting less than before. Daily gambling revenues on the Las Vegas strip – the flagship row of casinos in the biggest gambling destination – are down by a fifth from their 2007 peak. Recent strong baccarat revenues suggest that Asian consumers are doing their bit, but two companies illustrate the problems that are lingering after a fit of expansion and investment.

On Tuesday, MGM Mirage raised $845m of senior secured debt, paying a 9 per cent coupon. In late 2008, the company was paying 13 per cent but the improved funding costs are mostly due to a loosening up of debt markets rather than better business conditions. The company must continue to restructure its balance sheet, with fresh equity or asset sales still possible.

Private equity-owned Harrah’s, whose total debt of about $22bn is a hefty 11 times last year’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, is in a different position. Debt maturities have been pushed out to 2014, after which they come thick and fast. Like many over-leveraged companies, the group has four years to cross its fingers and hope for a strong recovery.

Meanwhile, competition is increasing as states look for new tax dollars. Feeling the effect of liberalisation in Pennsylvania and New York, last year Atlantic City saw some casinos post the lowest revenues since the early 1980s, notes CreditSights. Fellow neighbours Delaware and Maryland are also contemplating gaming tables, with other states heading down the same route. Much rests on keeping those roulette wheels spinning.

Lex专栏:美国博彩业
英国《金融时报》 Lex专栏 2010-03-12

美国是一个赌徒之国——无论是在房地产、股票,还是纸牌上。但尽管随着经济复苏,赌客们已开始重返赌台,他们玩得还是比以前小了。拉斯维加斯大道(Las Vegas Strip)是全球最大赌城众多旗舰赌场的所在地,其每日的博彩收入较2007年巅峰时期下降了20%。近期强劲的百家乐收入,表明亚洲赌客在贡献自己的力量。但下述两家公司证明了扩张与投资热潮之后遗留下来的诸多问题。

本周二,米高梅幻影(MGM Mirage)通过发行高级担保债券融资8.45亿美元,票面利率为9%。在2008年底,该公司支付的利率为13%,但融资成本的降低主要得益于债券市场的松动,而非商业环境的改善。该公司必须继续重组其资产负债表,增加股本或出售资产的可能性仍然存在。

私人股本公司拥有的哈拉娱乐集团(Harrah’s)的情况则不同。该公司约220亿美元的总债务,是去年未计利息、税项、折旧及摊销前利润(EBITDA)的足足11倍。债务到期期限已经被推迟到2014年,此后就将面临密集到期局面。与许多负债过多的公司一样,哈拉娱乐还有4年时间双手合十,祈求业务强劲复苏。

此外,随着各州寻找新的税收来源,博彩业竞争正日益加剧。CreditSights指出,去年,由于宾夕法尼亚州和纽约州逐渐放开博彩业,大西洋城(Atlantic City)一些赌场的收入创下了自上世纪80年代初以来的新低。与之毗邻的特拉华州和马里兰州也在考虑允许开设赌场,其它一些州也有这种打算。很多问题要靠转动赌轮来解决。

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