Can MGM Resorts Survive?

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MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM  ) has been making lots of changes lately and while I haven't been a big fan of MGM's stock, Fitch Ratings and S&P both upgraded MGM's debt last week. So should stock investors be concerned about the future of MGM or do the latest moves to sell assets point to a turnaround?

You owe what?
MGM had more than $13 billion in long-term debt at the end of last quarter, but the announcement of an equity offering, Macau IPO, and potential Borgata sale should provide some relief if proceeds are used to pay down debt. The table below shows where debt could stand once these transactions are closed.

Initial Debt $13.05 billion
- Stock Sale $596 million
- Borgata Sale (including land) $250 million
- Macau IPO $250 million
Potential Debt Level $11.95 billion

Source: SEC filings.

There was also just more than $1 billion in cash on hand at the end of the quarter, so a net debt level close to $11 billion isn't out of the picture. The problem is this reduced debt comes with fewer assets to pay for the debt. Borgata and MGM Macau were two of MGM's best assets, so less debt is great, but it comes at a price.

The amount of debt may still be staggering, but the good news is there isn't a crunch of debt maturing in the next few years, so MGM has some wiggle room. The table below shows debt maturities of MGM's long-term debt. Considering that MGM generated $549.7 million in operating cash flow over the past 12 months and spent $122.4 million on capital expenditures during the same period, it is conceivable to expect more than $400 million in free cash flow even in these rough economic times. With cash on hand that's plenty to cover debt maturities for the next three years.

Term and Revolving Loans $3.01 billion
2011 Maturities $454.5 million
2012 Maturities $544.7 million
2013 Maturities $1,348.4 million
2014 Maturities $1,142.7 million
2015 and beyond Maturities $6.55 billion

Three years from now, conditions may get a little more dicey, but that is a long time in the casino business. We may have online gaming by then and Las Vegas may have recovered, which would leave MGM in a much better position.

MGM lives on
MGM isn't on the brink quite yet, but with such a focus in Las Vegas it is dependent on a strong U.S. recovery to turn around. You may want to look at operators like Ameristar Casinos (Nasdaq: ASCA  ) and Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) for a more geographically diverse presence in the U.S. For explosive growth internationally, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) and Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN  ) both have Asian casinos to go along with their U.S. operations.

I like a good gamble, and I think it's clear MGM will survive for the foreseeable future, but I would like to see shares dip a little further before this Fool is willing to take a roll of the dice.

Interested in reading more about MGM Resorts? Click here to add it to My Watchlist, and My Watchlist will find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

Ameristar Casinos is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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