Casino giant Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) isn't the first stock that comes to mind when most people think about the best dividend-paying investments in the market. But over the long run, Wynn has actually done a good job of rewarding its shareholders with lucrative dividend payments, and although the company doesn't deliver the sort of predictable payouts that dividend investors prefer, they've nevertheless added up to some substantial amounts of cash over the years. As the operator of casinos in both Las Vegas and Macau looks to respond to Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) and its 30% boost to its quarterly dividend earlier this month, Wynn Resorts investors should keep a couple of important things in mind about the company and its dividend.
1. Wynn Resorts routinely announces dividend increases and special dividends in early November.
Wynn Resorts hasn't yet said when it will release its third-quarter earnings resort. But historically, those reports have come in late October, and the company has generally come back about a week or two later in early November to announce its latest dividend policy.
For instance, last year, third-quarter results came out on Oct. 24. Then, on Nov. 5, Wynn said it would pay a special dividend of $3 per share, and that it would also boost its regular payout by 25% to its current level of $1.25 per share on a quarterly basis. Similarly, in 2011, the company kept its regular dividend unchanged, but it paid a $5 per share special dividend in a separate release in early November.
However, Wynn hasn't always bothered separating out its earnings results from its dividend announcements. In 2012, the company announced the doubling of its regular dividend and a $7.50 per share special-dividend boost to its ordinary quarterly payout at the same time that it released its third-quarter report. Also, in 2010, Wynn announced its $8 per share special dividend on the same day it came out with its latest results.
Regardless of the exact timing of Wynn's dividend strategy going forward, investors can expect to get some word on the future course of their payouts within the next few weeks. Even as Wynn has moved toward greater reliance on regular dividends and less dramatic special-dividend payments, investors nevertheless can hope to get some of both before 2014 ends.
2. Watch out for the impact of a sluggish Macau on Wynn Resorts.
Historically, much of Wynn Resorts' dividend growth has come from strength in its Macau operations. Even though the company lacks the Cotai Strip presence that rival Las Vegas Sands has, Wynn has nevertheless been successful in getting huge amounts of profit from the former Portuguese colony.
Yet now, many investors are bracing for almost-unprecedented weakness from Macau and its potential impact on casino revenue and earnings. Some analysts have predicted a 7% drop in sequential earnings decline industrywide, and although Wynn's properties might perform better, but nevertheless, any drop in Macau would be an unwelcome departure from the success of the past several years.
The recent results from Las Vegas Sands, though, give hope that Wynn could avoid a hit. Sands saw VIP rolling win figures fall almost 22% in the third quarter in Macau. But mass-market results more than made up for the poor results, with a 14% gain in table-win completely offsetting the VIP losses with room to spare, helping to produce 7% higher net income for Sands even as revenue eased downward by 1%. If Wynn can see the same results in Macau, then it could be a huge win for the casino operator going forward.
Ensuring stable cash flow is important for Wynn right now. In addition to its ongoing plans to open a Cotai property, Wynn also recently won approval for a casino project in the Boston area, with the company planning to spend $1.6 billon to create a five-star international destination. As long as Macau keeps performing well, though, Wynn should be able to sustain its dividend growth.
Wynn Resorts investors have to keep on their toes to make sure that the casino giant produces the income they rely on. But with strong fundamentals, Wynn looks like a reasonable bet even in an increasingly turbulent stock market going forward.