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SLOW START TO AUGUST IN MACAU

Low hold likely held back the first week’s GGR in Macau. 

 

 

Average daily table revenues per day (ADTR) increased 2.7% YoY in the first week of August.  ADTR of $664 million was in-line with the prior week but below July’s $735 million.  The last two days of July had a huge ADTR of $932 so that likely kept volumes down to some extent in the early days of August.  Also impacting the first week was the big police raid to crack down gang-related crime.

 

Our August forecast is for GGR of HK$24.5-26.0 billion which would represent YoY growth of 2-8%, better than July’s 1.5% growth.  MPEL was the big winner in the first week in terms of market share while LVS managed to maintain a strong 20%+ share.  The data is below.

 

SLOW START TO AUGUST IN MACAU - MACAU2

 

SLOW START TO AUGUST IN MACAU - MACAU1


CBOU: THE CURSE OF GMCR

That title may seem slightly hyperbolic, but Caribou makes money from selling green coffee to Green Mountain; they will feel the impact of any further issues that arise for GMCR.  The recent short squeeze, taken out of context, could be taken as a vote of confidence in Green Mountain; rather, we feel that the squeeze represents another compelling opportunity to short a stock that has some way to go before being fairly valued.

 

We will be writing up a comprehensive note on GMCR in the coming days but thought that some comments from the CBOU earnings call last night were worth highlighting.  “Significantly reduced shipments of green coffee to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters”, as Caribou management discussed, was a drag on revenue growth in 2Q12.  Green Mountain seems to be reducing its inventory levels of Caribou coffee.  We see this as the beginning of a larger inventory correction phase for Green Mountain, and the drawdown will be a drag on earnings going forward. 

 

CBOU: THE CURSE OF GMCR - GMCR sales inv

 

 

As for other players in the single-serve category, it is difficult to draw direct conclusions from the Caribou commentary, but it seems likely that Starbucks gaining market share could have exacerbated the decline in sales volume that CBOU is experiencing.  Despite this, our view is that the numerous landmines buried in Green Mountain’s outlook could also have a negative impact on Starbucks’ earnings. 

 

Below are a selection of quotes from the Caribou earnings call that highlight some issues for CBOU and GMCR.  For Caribou, the positioning of its brand within the Green Mountain portfolio can have a significant impact on its volumes; we believe this is a dynamic to watch closely going forward, particularly as Green Mountain’s K-Cup patent expires.

 

[INVENTORY] “I would say that as we talked on Q3, it will be the greater impact because that's where we're feeling the biggest shift in lower green coffee sales as Green Mountain is managing down their weeks of supply. So it's clearly more heavily weighted in Q3 than in Q4 and I would put the range or the delta on a quarter-over-quarter basis in that 40% recognizing that a big part of that is the green coffee that normally would have shipped that won't be going through in Q3.”

 

HEDGEYE:  That Green Mountain has an inventory problem should not be a revelation to anyone; the severity of the problem is the most important point.   We would take this quote as indicating that Green Mountain is likely managing its inventory levels due to lower sales volumes.  This has significant implications for Green Mountain’s business in 4Q12 and FY13.  In 3Q12, Green Mountain’s inventory grew 60% while sales increased 21%.   We see a heightened risk of GMCR taking a charge over the next couple of quarters (likely in January) and missing EPS expectations.

 

 

[THE SBUX EFFECT] “We are now expecting a decrease of approximately 10% for the year in Caribou branded portion packs. This decrease is driven by a combination of single serve category dynamics, as well as some short-term factors driving Caribou performance specifically. At the category level, new brands have entered the single-serve space, particularly at the premium end of the spectrum and are taking share from all leading players, including Caribou.”

 

HEDGEYE:  Starbucks’ market share gains are contributing to the decline in Caribou’s performance.  This also raises the question of whether Starbucks is taking share from Green Mountain in the single-serve category.  We would posit that the emergence of Starbucks into the category is leading to Green Mountain’s incremental sales growth to be less profitable (if we assume that Starbucks portion packs are less profitable for the company than Green Mountain’s).

 

 

[VOLUMES] “At the same time, Green Mountain has seen greater than expected channel shifting across their portfolio as volume has moved from the specialty retail channel into the more traditional grocery outlets. This shifting has affected all brands in the category and while we are seeing Caribou volume increases in the grocery and away-from-home channels, it's not been sufficient to offset declines in the specialty retail and club channels.”

 

HEDGEYE:  It’s difficult to tell if the shift described above is down to a change in consumer preference or a self-inflicted wound stemming from mismanagement.

 

 

[LICENSOR-LICENSEE] “Additionally, in the early part of this year, the Caribou brand was repositioned within the Green Mountain portfolio to more premium pricing group.  The Caribou brand can command a premium price from consumers, but the retail implementation of the Green Mountain pricing strategy is having a meaningful impact on our club volume, at least, in the near term. This channel represented a large portion of our total business and is the primary driver of our actual and forecasted volume declines.”

 

HEDGEYE: This is likely a point of contention between Caribou and Green Mountain: it appears that Caribou has little control of the retail pricing of its brand, at least in club channels, and suggests that Green Mountain may be taking measures to increase the rate of sales growth of its own brands.

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 

Rory Green

Analyst


Industrial Indicator: The Worst Cycle We See

The Worst Cycle We See


While you may not usually look at shipbuilding, it is a very interesting and globally relevant industry – and it is poised for a severe downturn within the next year.

  • Severe: The shipbuilding downturn will be disruptive, making it important to avoid suppliers, creditors and customers, in our view.  Freight capacity should be well supplied for years, leaving indicators like Baltic Dry less useful for macro analysis.
  • Just Past Peak:  Since ships last for about 30 years, capacity added after WWII was replaced in the 1970s and that capacity was just replaced, with peak deliveries in 2011-2012.
  • Next Two Years Painful: The drop-off will be unusually sharp this cycle because the financial crisis clipped off orders in 2008.  2014 capacity utilization at ship yards will be a fraction of current levels (something like 20% of current utilization).  Many shipyards will not survive. 
  • Avoid/Short: We suggest staying away from or shorting Samsung Heavy, Hyundai Heavy, and other shipbuilding exposed names, and even avoiding high quality suppliers like Wartsila.

 

Industrial Indicator: The Worst Cycle We See - shipping cycle

 

 

  • Tough Industry: The shipbuilding industry has a difficult industry structure – fragmented competition, high barriers to capacity exit, consolidated suppliers, and consolidated customers by shipyards.  Except for cycle peaks, margins tend to be low.

 

Industrial Indicator: The Worst Cycle We See - shipping share

 

 

UPCOMING EVENT:  On August 16th at 11:00AM we will be hosting a call on the launch of our Trucking OEM Black Book that will discuss Navistar, PACCAR, Cummins and other key names in the space.

 

 

Industrial Indicator: The Worst Cycle We See - perf 8712


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MPEL 2Q12 REPORT CARD

In an effort to evaluate performance and as a follow up to our YouTube, we compare how the quarter measured up to previous management commentary and guidance

 

 

OVERALL

  • WORSE:  While Mass was strong, VIP was worse than expectations after the Q1 conference call.  EBITDA missed our estimate by a little bit but the MSC commentary seemed positive on the margin.

 PERFORMANCE OF NEW JUNKET ROOMS AT COD

  • WORSE:  We did not see a sequential or YoY in RC volume despite the additions below.  RC volume increased 0.5% QoQ and was flat YoY despite opening of the new junket rooms at CoD. 
  • PREVIOUSLY: "We recently opened three new fixed junket rooms at City of Dreams, which we believe will start to contribute to our results [higher rolling chip volume] from the second quarter of 2012.  We add totally about 23 tables for these three new junket operator, which means about 10% more on the VIP tables allocated in VIP in COD compared to last quarter last year."

PERFORMANCE OF NEW PREMUIM MASS AREA AT COD

  • SAME:  Hold rate did improve but Mass drop fell 5% QoQ 
  • PREVIOUSLY: "Earlier this month [May], we opened our new Premium Mass gaming and entertainment area at City of Dreams. We aligned more Grand Hyatt rooms to our high end Premium Mass segment...we anticipate an improvement in hold percentage and also result from the length of stay for this segment customers."

MSC UPDATE

  • BETTER:  MPEL "received from the Macau Government the revised formal land grant approval and permit to restart construction" which we already knew.  However, management seemed very optimistic about gaining the necessary casino approvals
  • PREVIOUSLY: [Studio City] "We remain optimistic that we can restart construction towards the end of this quarter, subject, of course, to government approval. Our $1.9 billion budget for Studio City remains."

 

SCC IMPACT

  • WORSE: MPEL saw a temporary impact on their mid and lower end business, although they claim that since July that business has rebounded and come back to them
  • PREVIOUSLY: "And even with the limited offering, we have seen an uplift in terms of visitation into City of Dreams."

 

 

 MPEL 2Q12 REPORT CARD - MPEL


To Debase A Currency

TO DEBASE A CURRENCY

 

 

CLIENT TALKING POINTS

 

WHAT’S IN A MARKET?

We’re essentially in a no volume, no volatility market. Think about it for a second: the VIX remains below 16 and yesterday’s NYSE volume was -30% yesterday vs the average down day for August. Must be great to be an equity broker these days. And of course everyone is back on the permabull bandwagon as they desperately try to hit 1400 on the S&P 500. Close, but no cigar. Best of luck trying to ride the beta wave, permabulls.

 

 

POURING CRUDE

Brent crude oil is up +25% since June! Isn’t that awesome? $110 a barrel oil thanks to Jon Hilsenrath and Ben Bernanke. Consumers at the pump have to be loving this three week trend of the US Dollar falling; lord knows it certainly helps pad their wallets when they hit the pump and grocery store (kidding.) As long as the Wall Street Journal continues to cheerlead for the Fed, expect more of this dollar debauchery and central planning madness.

 

 

JUST DEVALUE IT

Devaluing your country’s currency is so chic these days. Seriously. Venezuela had their currency devalued 50% by Hugo Chavez and now their stock market is up +110% year-to-date. No, that was not a typo – you read that number correctly. People seem to enjoy these little market rallies and the inability to earn a return on capital. Remember the days when you could put some money in fixed income or even a savings account and get a little return? We won’t be seeing a return to those days anytime soon, that much is certain.

 

 

_______________________________________________________

 

ASSET ALLOCATION

 

 Cash:               Flat  U.S. Equities:    Flat

 

 Int'l Equities:   Flat                   Commodities:    Flat

                                  

 Fixed Income:  Flat Int'l Currencies: DOWN

 

 

 

_______________________________________________________

 

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            

 

FIFTH & PACIFIC COMPANIES (FNP)

The former Liz Claiborne (LIZ) is on the path to prosperity. There’s a fantastic growth story with FNP. The Kate Spade brand is growing at an almost unprecedented clip. Save for Juicy Couture, the company has brands performing strongly throughout its entire portfolio. We’re bullish on FNP for all three durations: TRADE, TREND and TAIL.

  • TRADE:  LONG
  • TREND:  LONG
  • TAIL:      LONG

 

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

“$EURUSD Tests its 55 DMA for 1st time in 3 months as Stocks Hit New 3mth Highs bit.ly/MKvmmd #forex” -@alaidi

 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.” – Walter Bagehot

 

 

STAT OF THE DAY

$250 billion. The amount of illegal Iranian transactions that Standard Chartered allegedly helped conceal.

 

 

 


MPEL 2Q12 CONF CALL NOTES

Not the greatest of quarters but positive outlook on gaining casino approvals for Studio City was a main takeaway from the call. 

 

 

"In addition to the recent slow-down in the market-wide rolling chip segment, our rolling chip volumes also continue to be impacted by our table optimization strategies, which we are optimistic will generate improved future group-wide table yields across our rolling chip and mass market table games segments, giving us greater flexibility to participate in the changing gaming landscape in Macau and drive long term and sustainable improvements in future operating fundamentals."

 

 - Mr. Lawrence Ho, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Crown Entertainment

 

 

CONF CALL NOTES

  • Continue to shift tables from Altira to CoD and shifting tables between Mass and VIP
  • Altira's table use has stabilized and reached competitive levels
  • Introduced a limited run caberet show at CoD
  • Mgmt likes the high end of the mass market which they believe will provide them with a more stable and loyal customer base
  • Excited about Macau's improving infrastructure which should provide better access to the region
  • MSC:  1,650 rooms targeting the mass market.  Capacity for 400-500 gaming tables.  Feel that the location will given them a competitive advantage - near the Lotus Bridge and along one of the rail stops.
  • Assuming hold would have been 2.85% - their EBITDA would have been unchanged.  Despite a slightly higher blended win rate of 2.88%, they were negatively impacted by unfavorable mix between their RC and Revshare programs.
  • 3Q12 guidance:
    • $90-95MM of D&A
    • $18-20MM of corporate expense
    • $23-25MM of net interest expense

 

Q&A

  • MSC land grant:  mentions the 5-star resort and hotel.  This isn't a direct grant from the government to a concessionaire and it's not wholly-owned by a concessionaire.  The DICJ is the one that grants them gaming tables not the Department of Transportation which grants the land and construction grant. The site was already approved for a casino management license so they think that the process of getting a casino license for them is the same as for WYNN or any other site.
  • Higher range of mass hold at CoD (25-30%) going forward
  • They are short of rooms at CoD and Tower 5 has always been at their plans.  They are at 90%+ occupancy every day.  They have completed the design work for Tower 5 and plan on building once the land gets re-gazetted.  Hope to start construction of the tower as early as next year.
  • Can't really comment on the Philippine project but basically they will have a 50% ownership stake
  • MSC financing:  still in discussions with their bank group. Expect that since it will be a project loan it will have a higher spread than their corporate facility at +175bps.  Expect that they will have financing in place by year end.
  • Philippine partner database has 5MM customers and they will use that database.  They will try to use their own database to create synergies as well.
  • Continue to lobby in Taiwan and Japan.  They are keenly interested in developing in these markets.
  • Condition of the premium Mass market? Grew more than 50% in 1Q so that gave them a high base and difficult comp. So they were pleased to maintain that level of business in 2Q (despite the sequential supply).  They did experience some movement of their mid-lower tier customer movement to SCC but recently have seen that customer returning and have had a rebound in July.
  • See more promotional activity in Macau.  The mid-lower tier of the market is more sensitive to these promotions.
  • They are not surprised that the VIP market has slowed down.  At the beginning of the year, they were expecting 15% growth in the market.  This year is really a transitional year for the Chinese government and the Chinese economy should rebound in 2013.  That's why they have really spent time on improving their VIP product (since things are slower). They are still building for the future.
  • Earlier this year, they decided to allocate more of the Altira VIP tables to CoD.  On the cost side, they maintain a very lean operating team at Altira.  Going forward, it's more about improving the productivity of their tables there rather than cutting operating costs.
  • Think that the productivity of Altira is quite close to CoD at this point.  No comment on shutting down in the future to use that table capacity at MSC.
  • The table shift is mainly done - there may be some more "moderate" changes.  They are very happy with the last 2 months performance at Altira. Expect improvement in EBITDA at Altira. Sounds like they had an unfavorable mix of business at Altira.  
  • At June 30th: VIP:354; Mass: 271 tables. 
  • Increase in promotional allowance? They have taken a more aggressive approach to comping room or expanding their casino block. They think having more gaming customers in the rooms is a net positive for business.
  • Minority interest represents the 40% interest of MSC that they don't own.  There is $10MM of expense related to MSC which are both above and below the EBITDA line.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RELEASE

  • Net revenue of $939MM and Adjusted EBITDA of $204MM
    • CoD: net revenue of $684MM and adjusted EBITDA of $184MM. 
      • YoY EBITDA growth due to: "improved mass market table games and gaming machine volumes, a substantially improved mass market table games hold percentage as well as a higher rolling chip win rate, partially offset by higher wage costs as a result of the wage rate increase in April 2012."
    • Altira: net revenue of $209MM and adjusted EBITDA of $26MM
      • "The decrease in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily attributable to a lower rolling chip win rate together with reduced rolling chip volumes, as well as higher wage costs associated with the wage increase in April 2012"
    • Mocha slots: net revenue of $35MM and adjusted EBITDA of $9MM
      • Average slots: 2,100; average win per device: $181
  • "The decline in net revenue was primarily attributable to lower group-wide rolling chip volumes, partially offset by strong improvements in the mass market table games and gaming machine segments, particularly at City of Dreams."
  • YoY NI improvement "primarily a result of improvements within the mass market gaming segments, reduced non-operating expenses, including lower net interest costs and one-off costs associated with the refinancing of the City of Dreams Project Facility, partially offset by the amortization of land use rights at Studio City, the impact of increased wage costs as a result of the wage rate increase in April 2012 as well as lower group-wide rolling chip volumes and win rate." 
  • "In relation to Studio City, we are delighted to have received from the Macau Government the revised formal land grant approval and permit to restart construction, enabling us to move forward with the development of our exciting Studio City Project – a large-scale integrated entertainment, retail and gaming resort which will include significant gaming capacity, five-star hotel offerings and various entertainment, retail and food and beverage outlets to attract a diverse range of customers, with a particular focus on the mass market segment in Asia and, in particular, from Greater China."
  • "We have also recently entered into a memorandum of agreement for the development and operation of an integrated casino resort in the Philippines, which will further diversify our exposure in Asia and deliver incremental sources of earnings and cashflow. We will provide further details on this project when we finalize the terms and conditions of the definitive agreements."
  • Capitalized interest: $2.4MM
  • Cash & equivalents: $1.8BN; total debt: $2.4BN
  • Capex: $51.9MM (primarily related to projects at CoD and preliminary MSC costs)

     

     

     


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