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WYN 2Q12 CONF CALL NOTES

Strong quarter, solid guidance

 

 

“In the first half of 2012 we achieved back-to-back 36% increases in quarterly adjusted EPS growth in an economic environment that remains uncertain.  Underlying this growth is strong execution from each of our businesses and diversified product offerings well positioned to capitalize on consumers’ desire to travel. In addition, we benefited from capital allocation that included the return of capital to shareholders.” 

 

-Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and CEO, Wyndham Worldwide

 

 

CONF CALL NOTES

  • Results came in 2 cents above the high end of their guidance due to strong results in their lodging and VOI segments
  • Rental & exchange produced stable results despite turmoil in Europe
  • Have repurchased 73.8MM since going public
  • Baseline FCF of $600-700MM assuming capex of $200MM (50% of which used to fund growth business - Apollo/Voyager, etc)
  • Signed a deal with HPT for 20 hotels/ 3,000 rooms.  Conversions are scheduled to occur next week and will add Wyndham hotels and Hawthorne hotels in the system.
  • They are working on signing more hotel deals and retaining existing franchisees.  Believe that Apollo initiatives are going to help with retention.  Bookings are up 24% as a result of better functionality and content.
  • Expect system growth in:
    • EMEA: 8%
    • Latin America: 15%
    • APAC: double
  • Continue to be confident in the resiliency of their rental business.  95% of their rental business comes from Landal, Novosol, Hoseason.
    • Most of the locations are drive to destinations for northern Europeans & Germans
  • Launched a new reservation system for their rental business for their UK cottage and parts brands
  • Consolidated 23 separate ResortQuest sites under the Wyndham Vacation Rental umbrella
  • Completed another successful release of RCI.com and added 75 resorts to their system mid-year 
  • As a result, 41% of total transactions in the quarter occured through the site
  • WAAM 2.0: sell 3rd-party inventory and offer consumer loans. Signed thier first deal late last year and started sales this quarter.
  • In litigation with the FTC in relation to data breaches at Wyndham Hotel properties. Believe that FTC claims are meritless and do not believe that there will be any material impact on the company.
  • Over 6 years they have reduced their share count by 29%
  • Expect that their available FCF will be $1BN in 2012 (assuming increased leverage per higher EBITDA)
  • Hotel group performance:
    • Adjusted EBITDA increased 5% excluding inter-segment fees
    • NA RevPAR improvement was primarily a result of higher ADR
    • International RevPAR was up 2% in constant currency
    • 16,400 terminations - higher than expected due to steps taken by WYN to weed out underperforming hotels
    • Pipeline activity is up 3% YoY and 5% QoQ
  • Exchange & Rentals performance:
    • Last year included a $4MM benefit from Gulf Spill settlement
    • Weak economic conditions, negatively impacted the number of transactions but higher prices due to mix change helped
  • VOI business performance
    • 13.500 new owners were brought into the system (annual goal of 27,000 new owners per year)
    • WAAM 2.0 accounting will run inventory through their balance on a just in time basis.  Will pay for the inventory shortly after the sale. They have $60MM of inventory on the balance sheet related to WAAM 2.0
    • WAAM 1.0+2.0 sales increased 58% YoY
    • Improvement in EBITDA reflects higher VOI revenues and would have increased 19% excluding inter-segment fees
    • Higher loan losses reflected higher sales and limited portfolio performance improvement.  Thought that they would have seen more improvement though. They were also impacted by a scam encouraging their owners to default on their loans.  
    • ABS capital markets remain robust
  • EBITDA of 6-8% for the next 5 years and sustainable FCF of $600-700MM, meaning that they should have a $1BN of FCF to return to shareholders each year
  • Guidance: 
    • Lodging and VOI to be at the high end of their ranges 
    • Rental and Exchange revenue to be a the low end of the range for revenue and mid-point for EBITDA
    • Corporate expense to be at the high end
    • 3Q12 EPS $1.07-$1.10 is below the street due to seasonality and share count differences 

 

 

Q&A

  • Thoughts on M&A opportunities in the current environment:
    • There is a small uptick in deals coming to the market.  Seller expectations are still high.
    • Pipeline is a little stronger than last year at this time
  • VPG continued to trend consistently throughout of the quarter.  Think that they will likely come in at the high end of the range of their guidance. Their team has done a spectacular job at driving tour flow.
  • HPT deal contribution:
    • Management deal but they aren't adjusting their guidance.  This was built into their rooms guidance and is why they are comfortable with their FY room guidance growth.
  • Vacation rental business: they did see changes in some trends within certain markets.  Weather in the UK has been just miserable and that impacts them as well.  There was no meaningful trends to point out though - some markets were stronger and some were weaker. If you remove the FX, pricing actually improved 4%. Feel really good about how the brands performed.  Bookings visibility in the summer suggests continued stability in the business. They have seen a compression into the booking window though. 
  • Is the strength in the securitization business helping smaller players sell their inventory and in turn boost RCI membership? 
    • They don't think so. Their stats are strong but don't see carryover to smaller developers.
    • There were 2 new groups that accessed the ABS market in the 1Q but no one in 2Q
  • Southeast was a little weaker this quarter than other segments. There were some weather related issues in the SE that impacted some travel. Orlando has been strong and Bonnet Creek is doing really well. 
  • Need to purchase about $150MM per year to complete certain projects and with that, they have about at least 4-5 years of inventory. In addition to that, they also increased their WAAM participation and also took some inventory back.
  • Why are consumer revenues flat with higher VOI sales?  Less consumers want to finance and they tightened lending standards.
  • They increased their inter-segment fees for their brand partly as a result of the MAR/VAC transaction 
  • Guidance on full year tour flow implies a sequential slow down in 2H.  Tour flow is something that they manage with marketing dollars.
  • Strategy for growing APAC rooms. Not all of their brands are in APAC. Have managed agreements for Wyndham and Ramada.  Expect a big pick up in business development in that region over the next 3-4 years. 
  • Dividend payouts vs. repurchases? 
    • Dramatically increased their dividend over the last 3 years and their intent is to increase it in line with their earnings growth but more actually since shares are decreasing
  • Any impact on change in the Pentacostal holidays in May and June and impact of the Olympics?
    • Not seeing any impact from the Olympics yet. They are starting in August and that's already a busy travel period for UK.
    • No impact that they could discern from the Pentacostal holiday shift
  • International RevPAR number is 2% in constant currency and with FX down 1.5%
    • China is growing fastest in terms of the unit count - but they have the lowest RevPAR and the highest concentration of economy brands. Therefore, international growth is impacted by mix shift 
  • Attrition in the system that has occured over the last few quarters
    • There is natural attrition and significant amount of self-inflicted attrition due to failure to meet brand standards
    • They have started to see an improvement in receivables from franchisees
    •  They have been adding a lot of franchisees though
  • Is there any reason to provide financing to franchisees to help them renovate?
    • No, they don't want to be a lender of last resort to drive system growth
    • In UUP hotels they do provide some construction financing, similar to other brands

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RELEASE

  • 2012 Guidance was raised for the outperformance in the quarter and the lower forward share count: 
    • Revenue: $4,425 to $4,600MM (Unchanged)
      • Street: $4,549MM
    • Adjusted EBITDA: $1,040-$1,055MM (increased low end of the range by $10MM)
      • Street: $1,054MM
    • Adjusted EPS: $3.10-$3.20 (vs. prior guidance of $3.00-$3.15)
      • Street: $3.14
    • Diluted share count: 147 (vs. 149)
  • During the quarter, the WYN repurchased 3.8MM shares of its stock for $190MM at an average price of $49.35
  • On July 19, 2012, WYN "completed a term securitization transaction involving the issuance of $300 million of investment-grade asset-backed notes at an advance rate of 90% and an overall weighted average coupon of 2.66%."
  • Lodging segment:
    • System RevPAR: +5%; domestic RevPAR +8% (hit low end of FY guidance of 5-8% RevPAR growth)
    • # of room declined 0.8% YoY (below FY guidance of 1-3% growth)
  • Vacation exchange and rentals
    • "In constant currency and excluding the impact of acquisitions, revenues were flat."
    • "In constant currency, exchange revenues were flat"
      • Average # members: -2.3% (below FY guidance of -2% to Flat)
      • Revenue per member in constant current: +2% (high end of FY guidance of 0-2%) 
    • "Excluding the impact of foreign currency and acquisitions, vacation rental revenues were flat"
      • Vacation rental transactions: -0.9% or down 3% on a SS basis (below FY guidance of 4-7% growth)
      • Net price per vacation rental in constant currency: +4% and down 4.5% in actual currency (above FY guidance of -3% to 0%)
    • EBITDA Margins were down 580bps YoY
  • Vacation ownership
    • Gross VOI Sales: +12% 
    • Volume per guest: +6% (above FY guidance growth of 2-5%)
    • Tour Flow: +5% (above FY guidance growth  of 1-4%)
  • Balance Sheet
    • Cash: $285MM
    • Debt: $2.3BN
    • VOI receiveables: $2.8BN
    • VOI inventory: $1.1BN
    • Securitized VOI debt: $1.9BN

 


Shifting Landscapes

RIA DAILY PLAYBOOK  

FOR RELEASE ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012

 

CLIENT TALKING POINTS

 

ALL IN A TRADE

Keith McCullough was hard at work yesterday updating the Hedgeye Virtual Portfolio. We covered several shorts to book gains, including Novagold (NG) and Baker-Hughes (BHI). We also shorted two huge names that we’ve been increasingly bearish on over the past year: JP Morgan (JPM) and JCPenney (JCP). We recently did a full breakdown of JCP and our bearish case for the stock on our website. Please use the URL below if you’d like to read it:

 

JCP: Right On The Money: http://app.hedgeye.com/unlocked_content/22086-jcp-right-on-the-money

 

SHOW ME THE MONEY

While the 10-year US Treasury yield continues to make new lows on a weekly basis, Europe is headed in the opposite direction. Yields continue to climb and set new highs all over the place, including some of the headliner countries like Spain and Italy. Spanish 10-year yields, even if marginally off their highs of the morning, are north of the 7.5% line. If you’re craving returns and don’t mind the heightened risk environment, you can find it in the Eurozone.

 

RIGHT AWAY, MR. PRESIDENT

It appears that President Obama still has an edge in the upcoming November election. On Tuesday, we released the latest results of our Hedgeye Election Indicator (HEI – link below), showing that the President’s chances of being reelected declined by 70bp, reversing a multi-week upward trend.

 

A NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll out this morning shows that President Obama holds a 10-point lead on the question: who would make a better Commander in Chief? At the same point four years ago, a Pew poll showed that McCain led Obama on the same question by 15 points. Still, the race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama remains close and spirited as the countdown until November ticks away.

 

Hedgeye Election Indicator Results: http://app.hedgeye.com/unlocked_content/22070-president-obama-s-reelection-chances

 

ASSET ALLOCATION

 

Cash:  Up                   U.S. Equities: Down

 

Int'l Equities: Flat Commodities: Flat

 

Fixed Income: Flat         Int'l Currencies: Flat

 

TOP LONG IDEAS

 

JACK IN THE BOX (JACK)

This company is transitioning from cash burn to $75mm annual free cash flow generation thanks to completion of a reimaging program and refranchising of JIB units. Qdoba is the leverage; a maturing and growing store base will bring higher margins. We see 8.5% upside over the next 6-9 months.

                                 

TRADE: LONG

TREND: LONG

TAIL: LONG            

 

HCA (HCA)

SS volume accelerated in 1Q12 and employment remains a tailwind to both admissions & mix. We expect acuity to stabilize and births and outpatient utilization to accelerate out of 1Q12, while supply cost management continues as a margin driver and acquisition opportunities remain a source for upside.

 

TRADE: NEUTRAL

TREND: LONG

TAIL: NEUTRAL

 

LIFEPOINT HOSPITALS (LPNT)

We continue to expect outpatient utilization to pick up in 2H12 alongside stabilization in acuity with ortho and cardiac/ICD volumes supporting both pricing and inpatient admissions growth. Births should serve as a tailwind into year-end, recent and prospective acquisitions offer some upside to 2012/13 numbers and the in place repo offers some earnings flexibility. With European and Asian growth slowing, we like targeted domestic revenue exposure as well.

         

 

TRADE: NEUTRAL

TREND: LONG

TAIL: LONG

 

THREE FOR THE ROAD

 

Tweet of the Day: “226 AAPL-loaded hedge funds desperate for Bernanke put to avoid margin call bonanza” -@zerohedge

 

Quote of the Day: “Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.” –Robertson Davies

 

Stat of the Day: Caterpillar Inc (CAT) reported. The company reported a second-quarter profit of $1.67 billion, or $2.54 per share, compared with $1.02 billion, or $1.52 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 21 percent to $17.37 billion. Street consensus was $17.11 billion. The company also confirmed that China sales are slowing year-over-year, essentially confirming the growth slowing story in Asia.

 

 

 

 

 


CRI: First Chink in the Armor

 

Conclusion: This is the first chink in the armor for CRI. It’s still one of our top shorts.

  • CRI beat and we won’t take it away from them. Carter’s wholesale revenue and profitability looked good, but the implication of lower margins in 2H is the first chink in the armor that we’ve been concerned about.
  • They took down 2H EPS guidance to $1.58-$1.68, we were at $1.50 vs. the Street at $1.84 and we’re likely staying there.
  • While wholesale looks good, the weaker than expected retail comps are a concern and is something that management is going to have to give an answer to on the call. Particularly due to the fact that as we’ve been saying, this is a brand with little delineation, or product differentiation by channel, which will impact owned-retail in the 2H.
  • Inventories looked good on a sequential basis, but keep in mind that the Bonnie Togs acquisition closed on the last day of the quarter last year. While reported inventories were down -18%, excluding BT they were up +11%. This still suggests a 14pt improvement in sales/inventory spread to +9%, but is not as gross margin bullish as implied.

CRI: First Chink in the Armor - CRI S

 

 








    Hedgeye Statistics

    The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

    • LONG SIGNALS 80.32%
    • SHORT SIGNALS 78.48%

    Four Percent

    “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

    -Benjamin Franklin

     

    Last night I attended a launch party for the first book to be released from the Bush Institute, which is the non-for-profit that President George W. Bush started after leaving office.  The launch was held at the Canadian Consulate in Manhattan, so I felt right at home.  The book, for those of you who haven’t read the news clippings, is called, “The 4% Solution: How Can America Regain Its Economic Strength?”

     

    In the Chart of the Day, we show real year-over-year GDP growth going back to 1945.  The moral of the story is that four percent GDP growth is no small task.  Since World War II, the average year-over-year GDP growth in the U.S. has been right around 3%. Over the last decade, of course, it has been significantly lower.

     

    In the forward to the book, the former President Bush makes no bones about the fact that growth began to slow under his tenure.  In fact, he writes:

     

    “While the causes of the 2008 crisis will be debated by scholars for decades to come, we can all agree that excessive risk taking by financial institutions, irresponsible decisions by lenders and borrowers and market-distorting policies all played a role.  The question now is which policies should we adopt to fix the problems, speed the recovery, and lay the foundation for another long, steady recovery.”

     

    Obviously, it is a worthy question, especially in the short term as we wake up to even more incremental data points that growth is and will slow both in the U.S. and globally.  Some of these include:

     

    1.   Company specific reports – I’d like to include Apple in this since the company “disappointed” the consensus estimates of the Old Wall, but the reality is that Apple still sold 26 million iPhones (good for 28% year-over-year growth) and iPad sales grew more than 80% year-over-year.  In aggregate, though, corporate earnings, especially on the top line where it matters, have been validating a slowing global economy.

     

    2.   European yields – Over the past couple of weeks, European sovereign debt yields in the periphery have gone to new highs.  Specifically, Spanish 10-year yields, even if marginally off their highs of the morning, are north of the 7.5% line.  The implication of this signal is that European governments need to do two things, both of which will slow growth in the short term, cut more spending and likely add more debt to their balance sheets to stay solvent.

     

    3.   Consumer confidence – The global economy is driven by consumer spending.  The latest negative data point comes from South Korea.  This morning South Korean consumer confidence fell to the lowest level in five months.  Unless consumers globally have confidence, they won’t spend and economic growth will remain anemic.

     

    Despite the global economic malaise that is being reinforced every morning, President Obama’s re-election chances remain relatively positive.  In fact, a NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll out this morning shows that President Obama holds a 10-point lead on the question: who would make a better Commander in Chief? At the same point four years ago, a Pew poll showed that McCain led Obama on the same question by 15 points.

     

    This perspective is confirmed by our Hedgeye Election Indicator that shows Obama’s re-election chances are at 57%.  This corresponds with the Presidential predictive market at InTrade that shows a similar reading with Obama having a 57.3% re-election probability.  So, what does Romney have to do to narrow this race?  According to the partisan crowd last night, he has to move the discussion away from Bain Capital, focus entirely on the economy, and introduce a differentiated economic plan to get the U.S. economy back on a growth trajectory.

     

    A consensus view of many of the economists last night, albeit they were more conservative leaning, is that economic policy will fail if it is thought of as a welfare policy.  On some level, it is hard not to disagree with this point.  While we harp on it daily, relying on government to be the solution is, in fact, the problem.  To wit, I received a morning note today from a friend that runs a large institutional trading firm.  His note led off by saying that European markets and U.S. futures are “holding on” in hopes of government / central bank action.  How sad is that?

     

    I’ll answer my own question: it is very sad.  Nonetheless, we have to play the game in front of us.  So for those of you who are looking for a government related catalyst of one kind or another, there are few dates to keep in mind:

    1. Aug 1st – Federal Reserve meetings in the U.S.;
    2. Aug 23rd – 25th – The annual central bankers confab in Jackson Hole; and/or
    3. September 13th – Federal Reserve meets again.

    You want catalysts? We got catalysts!

     

    Unfortunately, government induced catalysts don’t do much for inducing real and sustainable growth, even if they do at times arrest economic gravity.  Although according to some recent analysis from our own Josh Steiner, even that point is questionable.

     

    The most recent round of short selling bans in Europe made Josh look back at the last times governments intervened in the free markets to ban short selling.  On August 8th, 2011, France, Italy, Spain, and Belgium banned short selling.  The Euro Stoxx Bank Index went on to lose 21% over the next month.  Even more noteworthy was the SEC short selling ban on September 8th, 2008 of the financial sector, which led to subsequent 76% decline in financials over the next six months.

     

    So, what’s my plan for growth? For the central banks and central planning governments to do one thing: stop.

     

    Our immediate-term support and resistance risk ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, EUR/USD, and the SP500 are now $1, $99.45-103.98, $83.36-84.17, $1.20-1.22, and 1,

     

    Best of luck out there today,

     

    Daryl G. Jones

    Director of Research

     

    Four Percent	 - Chart of the Day

     

    Four Percent	 - Virtual Portfolio


    IGT’S FQ3 DIFFICULT TO DIGEST

    Even the areas we thought IGT would deliver fell short.

     

     

    We had concerns going into the quarter but we’re still baffled by IGT’s FQ3 performance.  We thought international would be a bright spot and we were wrong.  Possibly even more confusing was management’s almost complete denial that there are any issues.  Maybe that denial explains why they would buy back a whopping 21 million shares ahead of a major punt.  While some for-sale units may have slipped out of this quarter and into the next, management must have known that this was not going to be a “good” quarter.  Maybe they felt they needed the 2c quarterly accretion to maintain their guidance and it was worth overpaying for the stock to get it.

     

    Either way, the unchanged guidance – even with the additional 2c – means that the pressure is on for FQ4.  At this point, the mid-point of their guidance looks like a big stretch.  Our 31c implies the low end of the range and even on that we feel like there is limited visibility.

     

     

    The Details:

     

    There was so much that was wrong with the quarter, that we’ll start with the only 2 things that weren’t bad

     

    The Good:

    • North American Unit sales were 1,000 better than we expected
      • 900 of the beat was due to shipments of Canadian replacement units that we didn’t expect until the September quarter
      • There were also some used units in there so it’s unclear what “new” units shipped were.  We suspect that the used unit sales may have been participation or lease units converting to sale rather than true “used” unit sales.
      • Interactive revenues were $3MM ahead of our expectations
        • We estimate that Double Down revenues were $32MM this quarter, just slightly better than the quarterized result of $24MM in F2Q for 72 days of consolidation
        • Other interactive revenue of $11MM

    The Bad (and The Ugly):

    • Core gaming operations business (excluding interactive):
      • Despite growing their install base by 3,600 units YoY, core gaming operations revenue declined 2% YoY and we estimate that gross margin declined 3% YoY
      • Yields on participation declined 7% YoY and 4% QoQ (June is usually seasonally stronger for yields)
      • Margins on the core business were down about 70bps YoY
    • International game shipments grew 3% YoY and box sales declined by $15MM YoY
      • So much for double digit growth in international and growing market share.
      • We were wrong here as we thought this would be a quarter of progress. 
    • Mix/schmix… Product ASPs were terrible 
      • NA ASPs declined 8.5% YoY
      • International ASPs were down 9% YoY
    • Non-box sales in NA were down 20% YoY
      • What happened to the Revel system deal?
    • SG&A came in at the high end of guidance despite revenues coming in at the low end 
    • Double Down
      • Memories of Server Based gaming?
      • Despite IGT telling us about how accretive this acquisition has been and how well it’s performing, the math says otherwise. 

    IGT’S FQ3 DIFFICULT TO DIGEST - IGT


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