CZR 4Q CONF CALL NOTES

CZR 4Q CONF CALL NOTES

 

 

"The continued growth in Las Vegas was driven by robust international play and higher room and occupancy rates at our properties. The outlook for continued strong group bookings and increased visitation to that market bodes well for the success of our Caesars Palace projects, including the Nobu hotel tower and restaurant additions and the Octavius Tower completion, which opened to the public in January this year. Work is progressing on the Linq retail, dining and entertainment experience that will open on the Strip in phases in mid to late 2013. Our regional performance continued to be impacted by reduced visitation, increased competition and, in the Illinois/Indiana region, the closure of a key access route to our Southern Indiana property, which has since reopened."

 

- Gary Loveman, CEO of CZR

 

PREPARED REMARKS

  • 'Bullish' on Las Vegas market due to international customers- strength in group business, occupancy at all-time high
  • Will expand Total Rewards program
  • Still improvement in margins in several regions despite lower trips
  • Development pipeline: 'most robust' in Loveman's tenure'
  • Baltimore bid: feel good about the opportunity
  • Linq will open mid-late March 2012
  • Hainan project: expected to open 2014
  • 25 resorts planned for Asia-Pacific region
  • CZR Interactive: 3MM daily users (Playtika)
  • Online poker: encouraged by positive dialogue
    • Expect approval at federal level
  • Quiet period until March 5
  • $21.75BN net debt; $900MM in cash ex restricted cash.
  • Total Capex: $590-625MM: OpCo $540-580MM ($200-240MM (Octavius/Linq)); CMBS properties: $50MM
  • 2012 LV group bookings strong
  • Rivers casino continue to adversely affect Hammond property

Q/A

  • Massachusetts: process a little slow; Suffolk Downs bid will be submitted in mid-2012; license may be decided in late 2012/early 2013. The winning property may open in late 2013/early 2014.
  • 4Q Las Vegas hold: pretty normal
  • 4Q Louisiana/MS: poor hold; less than $10MM impact
  • Nevada Gaming Commission: has 'one minor fix' to work through on online gaming license
  • 4Q 2010: IL/IN recognized $23.5MM tax benefit in OpCo. A tax accrual benefit since CZR was using a higher rate than needed.
  • LV: driven by hotel revenue growth; expected gaming rev contribution margin: 50-60%
    • Change in mix: from wholesale customers to group customers; about 2% transition
  • Playtika: margins are attractive; CZR has compared Playtika to Zynga/Double Downs.
  • 4Q LV REVPAR: ~$90 (~$80 a year ago); hotel revenues line includes both comp and cash revenues
  • Potential Capex
    • MA opportunity: equity ownership below 10%, so financing is not a concern
    • Baltimore: $300MM project; equity finance would be $50MM (CEOC/ unrestircted sub)
  • OpCo revenue breakout
    • Decided not to break out because of comments from SEC and IPO process
  • Vegas margins will be shown in 10K, in a couple of weeks
  • Revel competition: do not see loss of casino hosts
  • Gas impact: sees no anxiety yet; have seen spend per trip/gas price inverse relationship;
  • Japan: Casino Caucus (pro-casino 170 members); 2 step process (1) presentation of bill, (2) implementation of bill; stability of Japanese political system would help.
  • Use of Credit facility proceeds: could target certain tranches or invest in business
  • Tunica market--continue to be tough in visitation and spend
  • Linq: will see more LV construction in next few weeks; project on track
  • Cash (ex restricted cash): OpCo ($610MM), CMBS ($150MM), Parent ($145MM)
  • Genting New York impact on AC: a little bit but it's smaller than they anticipated
  • May break out Caesars Interactive in reporting in 2012, particularly if online poker gets legalized

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RELEASE

  • "On a consolidated basis, trips in the fourth quarter of 2011 declined from 2010 as increased trips in the Las Vegas and Atlantic City regions were offset by trip declines in our other U.S. regions. Trip declines were the result of continued weak economic conditions in the Louisiana/Mississippi region, new competition and reduced access to one of our properties due to a bridge closure in the Illinois/Indiana region beginning in the first week of September 2011 that recently reopened, and the impact of marketing programs on trip frequency of certain customer segments in all U.S. regions."
  • On a consolidated basis, Q4 Cash ADR rose 7.1% YoY to $90 from $84. 2011 Cash ADR rose 6.4% to $91 from $86.  Total occupancy percentages in 2011 increased 1.3% in 4Q and 1.4% for the FY.
  • 4Q 2011 effective tax rate benefit was 56.9%; 2011 effective tax rate: 43.2%
  • Net Interest expense increased 32.2% in 4Q; Q4 2011 Cap interest was $10.6MM - majority related to completion of Octavius Tower.
  • "Caesars anticipates that the Company will have a permanently lower cost structure and will benefit from greater concentration of specified talent and quicker decision making. The Company estimates that Project Renewal and previous cost-savings programs produced $63.3 million and $268.9 million in incremental cost savings for the fourth quarter and full year 2011, respectively, when compared to the same periods of the prior year. Additionally, as of December 31, 2011, the Company estimates that, once fully implemented, these cost-savings programs will produce additional annual cost savings of $198.3 million."
  • "Our two Ohio casino projects with Rock Gaming are moving forward, with Horseshoe Cleveland scheduled to debut in May this year and Horseshoe Cincinnati progressing toward a second-quarter 2013 opening."  
  • "Our Caesars-Rock Gaming group, along with our local partners, is optimistic about getting the go-ahead for a 3,750-slot gaming operation in Baltimore. We're also excited about our alliance with Suffolk Downs that plans to bid for the Zone 1 casino license included in the casino-legalization bill signed late last year in Massachusetts."
  • "We registered and listed a limited amount of Caesars Entertainment shares on NASDAQ, and announced an amend-and-extend debt transaction in combination with a bond sale that reduced our scheduled 2015 Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Inc. bank maturities to $2.1 billion from $5.0 billion and extends maturity dates on $2.9 billion of debt for an additional three to five years. We anticipate pursuing similar transactions to bolster our balance sheet as market conditions warrant."

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