Scientific Games Corp. (SGMS) reported breakeven results for the fourth quarter of 2011, way below the Zacks Consensus earnings Estimate of 10 cents. Earnings in the reported quarter also declined from 3 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.
Total revenue increased 12.7% year over year to $239.1 million, primarily driven by strong instant ticket sales, higher sales of lottery systems and terminals and better-than-expected service revenues.
Instant ticket revenues rose 0.6% year over year to $122.3 million, while sales of lottery systems and terminals surged 50.3% year over year to $22.3 million. Service revenue increased 24.9% year over year to $94.4 million.
Scientific Games’ U.S. instant ticket retail sales increased 8.5% year over year in the quarter. U.S. lottery systems customers’ retail sales climbed 2.7% year over year in the fourth quarter. China Sports Lottery instant ticket retail sales jumped15.7% year over year, while instant ticket retail sales in Italy was flat in the reported quarter.
Segment-wise, Printed Products Group revenues inched up0.8% year over year to $125.2 million, primarily due to higher contribution from U.S. customers ($3.8 million), which offset lower sales to international customers ($3.6 million).
Lottery Systems Group revenues increased 10.0% year over year to $69.5 million, primarily due to higher sales of software and hardware to international customers ($2.6 million) and increased hardware sales in the U.S. ($3.1 million).
Diversified Gaming Group revenues shot up79.7% year over year, driven by a 42% year-over-year growth in global installed base of server-based gaming terminals. Incremental revenue from the Barcrest acquisition ($11.5 million) also boosted growth during the quarter.
Attributable EBITDA rose to $80.3 million from $77.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Joint venture EBITDA was $19.5 million in the reported quarter compared with $19.3 million in the prior-year period.
Operating income in the quarter was $18.3 million (including stock-based compensation but excluding employee termination and restructuring costs) compared with a loss of $11.0 million (including stock-based compensation but excluding employee termination and restructuring costs, write-down of assets held for sale) in the year-earlier quarter. The increase in operating income was driven by higher revenues.
Scientific Games exited the quarter with $104.4 million in cash and cash equivalents compared with $86.9 million in the prior quarter. Total debt remained flat year over year at $1.39 billion.
We believe that the company???s diversified product offerings; international development activities (China, Italy), recurring revenue business model and strong growth from the Internet-based business will drive the stock over the long term.
However, intense competition from International Game Technology (IGT) and privately held Intralot S.A. and Lottomatica S.p.A, a highly leveraged balance sheet, lower lottery revenues, loss of contracts and a slowing trend in the domestic market as well as inChina will continue to temper near-term results.
We maintain our Neutral recommendation over the long term (6-12 months). Currently, Scientific Games has a Zacks #5 Rank, which implies a short-term Strong Sell rating.
Zacks Investment Research