Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD) is selling $900 million worth of corporate debt. It’s the latest sign gaming companies are easily able to access capital in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Generally, debt sales by companies in any industry aren’t remarkable — it’s an everyday occurrence — but in the case of Boyd’s bond offering, it’s another example of a gaming company selling more paper than previously expected. That’s confirmation demand for casino industry commercial paper is robust.
The Las Vegas-based operator originally planned to sell $750 million worth of bonds. The notes being sold in an offering that closes June 8 have an interest rate of 4.75 percent. That’s 10 basis points below the yield on the Markit iBoxx USD Liquid High Yield Index — a relevant comparison because, with a credit rating of B2 on the Moody’s scale, Boyd is a junk-rated issuer.
The company intends to use a portion of the proceeds from the offering to finance the redemption of all of its outstanding 6.375 percent senior notes due 2026,” according to a statement. “Concurrent with the offering, the Company also intends to redeem all of its outstanding six percent senior notes due 2026 using a combination of proceeds from the offering and cash on hand.”
Translation: Boyd is using new debt with lower interest rates and long maturities to pay off higher coupon obligations maturing sooner.
Buoyant Outlook for Boyd Stock, Credit
On the equity side of the ledger, shares of the Orleans Hotel & Casino operator are off 8.58 percent over the past month, joining other gaming stocks to the downside.
However, Boyd stock is up more than 43 percent year-to-date, making it one of the better-performing names in the industry. Analysts are bullish on the Aliante operator based on strength in regional markets and increasing vibrancy in the key Las Vegas locals (LVL) demographic. The company runs 28 gaming venues across 10 states, including 11 in Sin City.
Boyd’s regional diversification and footprints in other significant gaming markets outside of Nevada underpin the credit and equity investment thesis.
Boyd’s credit “rating also reflects the company’s significant size and geographic diversification. The company is one of the largest regional gaming operators in terms of net revenue and number of casino assets operated,” notes Moody’s Investors Service.
The research firm has a “stable” outlook on the operator’s B2 debt grade.
Strong Liquidity for Boyd
Gaming industry balance sheets are markedly improved from the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic, and Boyd is part of that trend. On the back of surging free cash flow, the operator ha $519 million in unrestricted cash at the end of last year.
“The stable outlook considers the recovery in the company’s business and margin improvement exhibited in Q3 and Q4 2020, and the expectation for continued sequential improvement in 2021,” according to Moody’s. “The stable outlook also incorporates the company’s good liquidity and the expectation for leverage to continue to come down from current levels as the business continues to recover and debt is reduced.”
The research firm said Boyd’s credit rating could upgraded if the gaming company can maintain a debt-to-earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) ratio below 5.25x.
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