Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) is going through a major transformation in its life, opening Wynn Palace in Macau, building Wynn Boston Harbor, and completing plans for an expansion in Las Vegas. And investors have to digest all of those changes when considering the stock's future.
One of the best ways to peer into founder and CEO Steve Wynn's vision for his company is to listen to the Wynn Resorts conference calls. That's when Wynn discusses plans and often rants about challenges and opportunities for his company. Here are the highlights of what he said from the most recent earnings conference call, by way of a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
Macau market share is booming
When we opened the hotel in Cotai this past August, we had 9% of the market. In the first quarter, we went to 13%, and now we're moving past 16% of market share.
Macau is the world's biggest gambling, market but Wynn Resorts has always been a fairly small player compared with Las Vegas Sands, Galaxy, and SJM, which have more than the one resort Wynn has. But the opening of Wynn Palace changed things, and Wynn has seen its market share increase rapidly.
What's impressive is that the market share is so high despite the construction going on around Wynn Palace. Once construction is complete, we could imagine an even higher market share approaching 20%. That's incredible with just two resorts in Macau.
The vision for Wynn Las Vegas
The golf course grossed $7.3 million, netted $3.5 million... . Forty-six people played golf. And that's very nice. It's a beautiful ... golf course. But as a business, it's always a placeholder, since we bought the place in the desert in the 2000.
A lot of discussion on the conference call was around Wynn's plans for the golf course behind Wynn Las Vegas. This quote is putting in context how much (or how little) the golf course makes each year. It's not a financial driver at all, and Wynn's plans for Paradise Park should turn it into a money maker.
What Paradise Park will consist of
And after all of the studies and the pricing, we came to this conclusion: that we were going to build, we would master-plan the entire event, but we would build the beachfront meeting space, ballrooms, cabanas, and pools that represented the certain need we had at the moment. Build the lagoon, 1,500 feet long and 800 odd feet wide, with a 4,000-foot boardwalk with white sand beaches and water sports and attractions, bar, and food service. Build that first.
Paradise Park is likely to eventually be a massive addition for Wynn Resorts, including a new tower, lagoon, convention space, and much more. That master plan is in place, but not everything will be built right away. In fact, Wynn is going a new direction and focusing on convention customers first. That's not typically a big business for Wynn, but with a massive amount of land to build on, it could be an attractive option for the company.
The initial Paradise Park Plan
And we would put this 20-odd-acre lagoon in the middle of it. And then we would build our meeting space, leave room for our new tower that could be a couple of thousand rooms. We would leave room for everything, master-plan it, but build at first the park that would immediately power up our existing restaurants, our existing casino, our existing convention meeting and catering operation.
With an absolute certain return on that investment of excess of 10% or 15%, we have no better use for our money; we keep $1.5 billion or $2 billion in the parent company. And this would allow us to take the most conservative but the most dynamic approach to creating this.
Tearing out the golf course will probably begin late this year, and Wynn said the construction of the lagoon and convention facilities would be relatively quick. And the return on investment is attractive, given the cash on hand and the company's low borrowing costs in today's market.
The initial cost for Paradise Park
So that's the formula, and we'll spend between $400 million to $500 million on it.
And we'll get the lagoon and these things up pretty quick. By start at the beginning of the year, we should be in shape within a year or so.
By the end of 2018, we could see the completion of the initial phase of Paradise Park. The theory is that more convention business will bring more customers to the hotel and more people to restaurants and nightclubs. And with Wynn's history of successful developments in Las Vegas, I don't see a reason to doubt those projection. The lagoon alone could be an attractive draw for visitors to Las Vegas and make Wynn Las Vegas an even better destination than the golf course ever did.