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Certainly not as bad as the whisper. 'Improving consumer behavior recently' was surprising commentary.



"We continue to focus on maximizing profitability by managing costs, improving our customer relationships via M life and social media outlets such as myVEGAS, as well as exploring growth opportunities in key strategic regions across the U.S. and internationally."


- Jim Murren, MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO




  • Observed a pocket of softness in the US consumer starting in May which was reflected in spend particularly in domestic table games, entertainment and in retail
  • Also experienced slower in the year for the year convention bookings.  Based on these trends, expected RevPAR in 3Q to be down slightly.
  • However, the pace for 2013 & 2014 convention bookings is still up and has not been impacted
  • They have recently seen a pick up in consumer behavior
  • They have grown their market share in tables and slots in LV, a reflection of the success of M Life
  • ASCA has a been a great partner so far and they look forward to growing their network
  • Morgans will remodel "theHotel" into a Delano 
  • Focused on customer acquisitions though social gaming
  • MGM is actively pursing some opportunities in Toronto, Western MA, and Cotai
  • MGM Grand had 67,000 room nights out of service in the quarter, which was more disruptive then they expected
  • Believe that they will be able to refinance some of their secured debt at lower rates in the near future
  • $102MM of capex ($18MM at MGM China)
  • $350MM expected capex in 2012
  • 3,300 rooms of MGM Grand rooms have already been renovated and the balance will be completed by September
  • Bellagio Spa Tower remodel starting in August and will be completed before year-end holidays at a cost of $40MM
  • 3Q guidance:
    • Stock comp: $9-10MM
    • D&A: $230-235MM
    • Interest expense: in-line with 2Q
  • CityCenter:
    • Aria's 92.7% occupancy. June was the highest occupancy month since opening. Growth in the hotel is occurring in a more profitable cash business. 
    • Casino table game drop was strong and slot revenues grew 12%. Poker revenues were at a record level
    • Early ticket sales to Zharkana have been positive and the show is set to open on Nov 1
    • Crystals: operating expenses decreases slightly. One new tenant opened April 18th and Pinkberry will open in August. They were 87% leased at June 30th.
  • MGM China:
    • Seeing some slowdown in Junket RC growth
    • Had their best in-house VIP performance the quarter with volume growing 17% YoY
    • Looking to introduce new games to players in the near future
    • Butterfly exhbiition increased property visitation by 8%.  Attracts 50,000 visitors per month. This had a positive impact on retail, F&B, and mass gaming. 
    • Working to complete their Level 2 expansion in early 4Q by adding 40 new VIP tables; will introduce new junkets
    • Will work on Mass floor renovation next year
    • Their dialogue with the Macau government on their Cotai project is proceeding. Submitted application for land prep work and working to have general contractor on board in 4Q
      • 500 tables, 2500 slots, 1600 rooms
      • $2.5BN spent over 36 months
  • Have a strong event calendar for balance of 2012
  • For 2013, they will have refreshed room product at MGM Grand and Bellagio, a new show at Aria, and new restaurant concepts
  • Expect the new terminal 3 in McCarran will drive international visitation to Vegas - especially from Europe



  • Pocket of softness seen from mid May to late June (so 5 weeks). Since that time they have seen the booking pace pick up and pricing power improve. Look at it like a blip on the screen. It did impact their bookings in 3Q. Therefore, they expect RevPAR to be down a little YoY in 3Q. However, this has not had any impact on their long-term bookings
  • The reason they are not down double digits in 3Q is because they have seen a pick up in leisure travel. They don't have a view on 4Q RevPAR yet. All they see is that consumer trends are better. Their convention mix will be down in the 3Q vs an all-time record last year. 
  • Their bookings pace is up for 2013 
  • Have seen spend increase in the mid-single digits at the high end properties. At the lower end of their properties is where they have seen more weakness.
  • Mirage held single digits in the quarter so that didn't help them
  • MGM Grand: Had low hold and couple with the room disruption it cost them about $13-15MM
    • 2Q had the second highest RevPOR in their history
    • Had a good quarter in non-gaming categories
    • Slot handle was up
    • Getting nice increases in ADR and mix is improving. Convention groups love the renovated product.
  • Convention booking - seeing double digit increases of rooms on the books for next year. Expect an increase in convention mix next year. They are north of 70% booked for their convention business in 2013, including Aria.  Feel even better about 2014.
  • Always pruning expenses, but there isn't much to cut. Their goal is to pull out $50MM of expenses per year through better technology usage, efficiency etc.
  • FTE's are flat YoY
  • How are rates trending on forward contracts? They are getting increases. Their challenge is getting that similar increase in leisure and FIT.  Expect mid-single digit increases.
  • The opening of Terminal 3 in McCarran opened in June so that should have helped visitation. Expect that to have a continued positive impact on visitation.  Expect a record number of visitation in 2012.
  • People in China are being more careful in their spending habits which they believe is a short term phenomenon
  • Their agreement with the Macau government is for an annual fee in lieu of a dividend tax.  Roughly about $3-4MM payment in the quarter that covered all the previous years and the extension is pending approval.
  • What % of rooms were out of service at MGM Grand? It's what they expected.  Claims that it didn't benefit RevPAR because they already run at 90% - sicne they lose money on the weekends because they sell out.
    • In 2Q, there were 63,000 rooms out of service or 2% of total rooms in their portfolio
  • Cotai:  Key issue is that they have provided the government with everything they need.  They have been taking the opportunity for being in a position of lining up construction readiness as they wait for the land.
  • During the soft patch, the competitive environment picked up.  Now things have moved back to normal.
  • Having down RevPAR in 3Q will be a mix of occupancy and rate.  Will yield the rooms for maximum cash flow.
  • Chinese high-end bacarrat segment: had the largest table drop in their history in 2Q
  • Receivables exposure in Macau: 
    • Receivables: HK$809MM.  Have reserved HK$200MM against that.
    • Slightly ahead of last year, less than 10% ahead on total receivables outstanding
    • The advances to the junkets is about 60% of their receivables. They liquidate that outstanding amount each month.
  • The build out of Level 2 is not at the expense of their Mass business. Want to be able to add high quality Tier 2 junket operators. So they are reconfiguring the floor to maximize their VIP yields. They have 427 tables. So they can add some double tables and move some single tables into private junket rooms.
  • Is their target of 15.5% convention mix still achievable? They did 14.7% last year and hope to do 15% this year. They are currently pacing in that 14-15% range. 
  • Where did the pocket of weakness hit hardest?
    • There was little impact on gambling but more impact on retail, F&B spend on the "core" properties
  • Sustainability of their margins in Macau?
    • Still think that mid-to upper 20's margins are achievable
  • Managed and Other pick up in the quarter:  benefited from a full quarter of the IP fee out of Macau. 
  • Borgata account: $160MM sits in the trust account
  • Dividends out of Macau will be a Board decision



  • "Casino revenue decreased 1% at the Company's wholly owned domestic resorts, while rooms revenue increased 3% with a 5% increase in REVPAR at the Company's Las Vegas Strip resorts. The overall table games hold percentage in the second quarter of 2012 was 17.7% compared to 18.2% for the prior year second quarter. Slots revenue was flat compared to the prior year quarter."
  • MGM China:  EBITDA of $187MM (including a $12MM branding expense) on net revenue of $709MM
    • Mass drop: +7% YoY
    • Slot Handle: +39% YoY
    • VIP RC: -6% YoY
    • VIP hold: 3.3%
  • CityCenter EBITDA: $71MM
    • Net revenue from resort operations of $282MM
    • Aria table hold: 24% vs 29.2% in 2Q11
      • "The estimated effect of the decrease in hold percentage compared to the prior year quarter for net revenue and Adjusted Property EBITDA was $16 million and $13 million, respectively"
    • Aria RevPAR: +3% YoY
  • 2Q had a "non-cash impairment charge of $85 million related to the Company's joint venture investment in Grand Victoria."
  • 2Q "income tax provision was affected by a valuation allowance for a portion of U.S. deferred tax assets and by a net tax benefit resulting from entering into an annual fee arrangement with the Macau government with respect to the complementary tax on dividend distributions of MGM Macau covering the years 2007 through 2011, including the dividend distributed in the first quarter of this year. All taxes previously accrued on MGM Macau dividends distributed in prior quarters were reversed and the cumulative agreed upon annual fee was recorded during the quarter."
  • Cash: $1.7BN ($658MM at MGM China)
  • Debt: $13.4BN ($1.3BN under the Sr Credit Facility and $553MM related to MGM China)
  • "We remain focused on improving our free cash flow and deleveraging our balance sheet. One way we expect to be able to do this is by lowering our cost of capital. We envision an environment in the near future where we will have the opportunity to refinance some of our long-term capital at progressively lower rates"

HCA: Heartwarming Gain

While the rest of the world zigged on HCA stock, Hedgeye zagged, and it paid off  as a winning trade. Here’s what happened.


HCA Holdings (HCA) took a hit on Monday, closing down -6.5% after a soon-to-be-released New York Times investigative article was announced by management. In a nutshell, the article highlighted concern over cardiovascular surgical procedures at HCA affiliate hospitals. Despite the hype, we bought the stock for the Hedgeye Virtual Portfolio on the red per  Hedgeye Health Care Sector Head Tom Tobin’s guidance.


That paid off for us today as we sold HCA into the +5% rally as the rest of the world wised up and realized Monday’s news was overblown. Below are Tom Tobin’s notes on HCA and why we are reiterating our long bias:


•        The New York Times published its article on HCA which was previewed on yesterday’s earnings release and conference call.

•         It reads reasonably well for HCA relative to the stock price which fell -9.1% intraday and closed down -6.5%.

•         Staying long represents thesis drift for us on HCA, as we had seen their lack of legal issues as a positive relative to our Physician Utilization Uptick theme.

•         The quarter saw continued fundamental outperformance relative to the Hospital Subgroup and continues to support the long case



HCA: Heartwarming Gain - HCA Levels 080612

Examining The Global Shipping Bubble

Global shipping may not be the first industry to come to mind, particularly in the United States. But it could soon grab worldwide attention as the global shipping bubble bursts and takes down a cavalcade of companies with it.



Examining The Global Shipping Bubble - shippingcollapse



Hedgeye Managing Director of Industrials Jay Van Sciver created the above chart, which essentially says it all. We’re almost at peak global shipping tonnage and it’s about to fall very hard and fast. He’s outlined his case below, noting that a severe downturn is likely to occur 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.

Early Look

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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.






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. 





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


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

Daily Trading Ranges

20 Proprietary Risk Ranges

Daily Trading Ranges is designed to help you understand where you’re buying and selling within the risk range and help you make better sales at the top end of the range and purchases at the low end.