Analysts hope for post-Adelson details on Sands earnings call

Gaming industry analysts from across the country will be listening intently for clues about the future operation of Las Vegas Sands Corp. during Wednesday’s fourth-quarter earnings call, the first since the death of former Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Some questions were resolved on Tuesday, when the company announced its board of directors had appointed Robert Goldstein as the company’s second chairman and CEO. It also named former Chief Financial Officer Patrick Dumont as the company’s president and chief operating officer and Randy Hyzak, formerly an executive vice president and chief accounting officer, as its next chief financial officer.

Some analysts have gone on record saying they’re not expecting any major changes in the operations of the company under the direction of Goldstein and Dumont.

Adelson died Jan. 11 of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and since then, analysts have focused on Goldstein and Dumont, as well as what, if any, role that Adelson’s widow, Dr. Miriam Adelson, would have in the direction of the company.

Early Wednesday afternoon, the company reported a net loss of $376 million, 39 cents a share, on revenue of $1.146 billion. For the same quarter a year earlier, the company reported net income of $783 million, 82 cents a share, on revenue of $3.509 billion.

Now that the line of succession has been affirmed, with Dumont, the Adelsons’ son-in-law, in a top leadership position, analysts can focus on other issues facing the company: low revenue in Macao; the potential sale of Las Vegas assets; a new interest in company-operated sports wagering; and a potential new domestic market in Texas.

A report by Joseph Greff, a New York-based gaming analyst with J.P. Morgan, summarized what’s on many analysts’ minds going into Wednesday’s earnings call.

“We assume LVS will offer a medium-term optimistic outlook on Macao — ‘We don’t know when it’s going to recover, we know there is pent-up demand at times, just waiting for when the visa spigots will be turned on,’ and ‘You will need to see vaccination rates pick up for spigots to happen,’” Greff said in a note to investors. “We also expect LVS to comment on founder Sheldon Adelson’s unfortunate passing and what it means to his estate potentially selling shares (we expect them to nip this investor concern in the bud and say ‘No, this is not an event for the estate to sell some shares,’ which we think will bring a positive perspective to something that has been a source of a lot of incoming investor questions).”

Greff said he expects company leaders to discuss some long-term options for Sands.

“LVS may also discuss longer-term strategic issues, such as if it makes sense to sell part of Macao to a Chinese strategic company with board seat(s), and is the government even thinking about this and/or supporting it? LVS may also update on its Las Vegas asset sales (we can’t imagine anything is super warm on this front at prices close to where LVS sees their asset value) as well as views on mergers and acquisitions (U.S. more so than its recent and past foci on Asia) to complement same-store recovery in Macao and Singapore with targeted capex in both markets (Londoner in Macao and Marina Bay Sands expansion in Singapore).

“Lastly, given a limited domestic footprint, we expect LVS to talk about its reported interest in U.S. sports betting,” Greff said.

Las Vegas Sands shares, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, finished down $3.38, 6.4 percent, Wednesday to $49.04 in heavy volume trading.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the late chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Fourth-quarter revenue and earnings for Las Vegas-based Las Vegas Sands Corp., operators of The Venetian and Palazzo on the Strip and resorts in Macao and Singapore. (NYSE: LVS)

Revenue

4Q 2020: $1.146 billion

4Q 2019: $3.509 billion

Change: -67.3%

Net income/(loss)

4Q 2020: ($376 million)

4Q 2019: $783 million

Change: —

Earnings/(loss) per share

4Q 2020: ($0.39)

4Q 2019: $0.82

Change: —

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