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MNST: Government Intervention

Monster Beverage (MNST) saw its shares slump yesterday and today on the Food and Drug Administration’s concerns over energy drinks. The offices of Sens. Durbin and Blumenthal and Rep. Markey sent a letter to Living Essentials, maker of the 5 Hour Energy drink, questioning the potential health risks associated with energy drinks and the way they’re advertised. Clearly, every other problem in the United States has been addressed so it’s good to see Congress turning their attention to energy drinks.

 

Hedgeye Consumer Staples Sector Head Rob Campagnino thinks that Coca-Cola (KO) should buy MNST and use their vast legal resources to fight this battle because KO’s products will soon be in the crosshairs of Congressional leaders. It happened in New York City with Bloomberg, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months.

 

MNST: Government Intervention - MNST


IGT PREVIEW

FQ1 could be a small beat but accelerating growth and better cash flow deployment the story

 

 

IGT will report earnings Tuesday night and while we’re not sure the print will itself be a big catalyst, we do expect a solid quarter with the potential for a beat.  The report and conference should confirm our positive thesis on this cheap stock.  EPS growth will be high in FQ1 and for all of FY2013 (20%+).  Cash flow remains strong and we expect IGT to maintain current leverage and potentially lever up somewhat through significant share repurchases.  The days of low ROI acquisitions appear to be over.

 

F1Q DETAIL

 

We estimate that IGT will report $530MM of total revenue and adjusted EPS of $0.25, 1% and 4% ahead of consensus, respectively.

 

Product sales of $224MM at a 53.5% gross margin

  • NA sales of $151MM and gross margin of $82MM
    • $105MM of NA box sales: 7,265 gaming machines at ASP of $14.5k
    • 6,055 replacements and 1,210 new units, ~2,000 shipments to Canada
    • ASP’s should be similar to last quarter with Canadian shipments down sequentially but IL VLT units should be up this quarter
    • Non box sales of $50MM - 1Q is almost typically weaker than 4Q since 4Q gets a spike from intellectual fees and settlements.
  • International sales of $68MM and gross margin of $34MM
    • $46MM of box sales: 3,000 units at an ASP of $15.5k
    • Non box sales of $22MM
    • 50% gross margins

Gaming operations revenue and gross margin of $306MM and $189MM, respectively

  • End of period install base of 57,632
  • Core gaming operations revenue of $250MM, implying an average win per day of $47/day
  • $57MM of interactive revenue
    • $37MM of DoubleDown revenue
    • $19MM of other interactive revenue

Other stuff:

  • SG&A: $105MM
  • R&D: $55MM
  • D&A: $21MM
  • Net interest expense: $20MM
  • 37% tax rate
  • Weighted average shares outstanding: 269MM

Land Of The QuadrillYen

The Bank of Japan has said it plans on curtailing the strength of the Yen by doing what the United States does best: printing money. As you can see over the last three months, the USD/JPY has appreciated quite a bit as the value of the Yen dropped. Unless the Japan decides to radically change its economic game plan, expect the Yen to devalue further.

 

Land Of The QuadrillYen - image001


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We believe there is a high likelihood that PNK's 26.50 bid for ASCA will be topped.  As evidenced by the huge increase in PNK's stock, ASCA left a lot on the table.  MGM Resorts International or Penn Resorts could offer a higher bid for ASCA.  ASCA would be hugely accretive for MGM, given MGM's large balance of tax loss carry-forwards. They could pay 8.5x ASCA's trailing 12-month EBITDA, which would equate to a $35 bid and still make it de-leveraging and very accretive from an EPS and cash flow perspective.  PENN could offer even higher since ASCA's integration with its planned REIT structure would instantly create value.  We believe ASCA could be worth up to $40 to PENN.

 

 

INTERMEDIATE TERM (the next 3 months or more)

The stock may trade in a tight range for the next month or so. Investors are waiting to see if a higher bid from MGM, PENN, or another operator surfaces. Fundamentally, ASCA remains relatively protected from new competition and, with the top in class assets in virtually all of its jurisdictions, is a defensive play in the space. LONG-TERM (the next 3 years or less) PNK's acquisition of ASCA is expected to close by 3Q 2013. However, we believe ASCA will receive a higher bid before that deadline. A bid of at least $35 (28% premium to current price) seems reasonable and doable given the relatively small breakup fee.

 

LONG-TERM (the next 3 years or less)

PNK's acquisition of ASCA is expected to close by 3Q 2013. However, we believe ASCA will receive a higher bid before that deadline. A bid of at least $35 (28% premium to current price) seems reasonable and doable given the relatively small breakup fee.

 

 

We Want Your Feedback - he bi ASCA chart

 

 

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Out With The Old

Client Talking Points

In With The New

2013 is an exciting year for us at Hedgeye. We’re all about following a process that works for us, owning up to our mistakes and taking on new challenges every day. The #OldWall still doesn’t get it to a degree. They are still attending conferences where everyone plays by the rules and makes sure to discuss year-old topics with a certain vagueness as to not offend anyone. Our analysts are the best of the best and don’t have things like brokerage to get in the way of their decision-making process. When we trade stocks, we use a combination of quantitative and fundamental, bottom-up research that helps us determine a risk and a range for each name. If you stay within that range, you’ll do a lot better than throwing darts blindly into the wind. 

Hammer Time

One of the themes from our Q1 2013 Global Macro Themes call was #HousingHammer and boy, is it Hammer Time. This week has been quite a boon to the housing market with some truly significant data coming out on the mortgage application and housing starts front. Throw in a superb Jobless Claims print of 335,000 and you’ve got something to get excited about. The Street consensus isn’t as bullish as they should be on housing; we suggest they take a closer look at the market.

Asset Allocation

CASH 52% US EQUITIES 12%
INTL EQUITIES 18% COMMODITIES 0%
FIXED INCOME 0% INTL CURRENCIES 18%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
ASCA

We believe ASCA will receive a higher bid from another gaming competitor. Our valuation puts ASCA’s worth closer to $40.

ADM

ADM has significantly lagged the overall market in 2012 over concerns that weakness in the company’s bioproducts (ethanol) and merchandise and handling segment will persist. Ethanol margins suffered from higher corn costs, as well as weak domestic demand and low capacity utilization across the industry. Merchandising and handling results were at the mercy of a smaller U.S. corn harvest. Both segments could be in a position to rebound as we move into 2013 and a new crop goes into the ground. With corn prices remaining at elevated levels, the incentive to plant corn certainly exists, and we expect that we will see corn planted fencepost to fencepost.

HOLX

HOLX remains one of our favorite longer-term fundamental growth companies given growing penetration of its 3D Tomo platform and high leverage to the 2014 Insurance Expansion from the Affordable Care Act.

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

“Phrase "deeply regret" has really lost its way. I'm pretty sure you can't regret something someone else did (or another country)” -@ianrosen

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“If a man does his best, what else is there?” -General George S. Patton

STAT OF THE DAY

China Q4 GDP rises 7.9% vs estimates of 7.8%


Politicians and Energy Drinks - Making Sure No Windmill goes Untilted

Yesterday, shares of MNST were weak for what seems like the umpteenth time on the same news - concerns over the FDA's involvement in energy drinks.  This time, it was a letter sent from the offices of Sens. Durbin and Blumenthal and Rep. Markey to Living Essentials, the manufacturer of 5 Hour Energy Drink.  The letter is linked below:

 

http://markey.house.gov/sites/markey.house.gov/files/documents/01-17-2013%20Letter%20to%205_hour%20ENERGY.pdf

 

The latest flurry of activity is in response to data published by the Drug Abuse Early Warning Network regarding emergency room visits and energy drinks.  The report is linked below:

 

http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/DAWN126/sr126-energy-drinks-use.pdf

 

The gist of the report is that emergency room visits involving energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011 - the data prior to 2007 is squirrelley, at best.  Of course, over the same period MNST's volume has grown over 60% and energy shots have seen a substantial increase in popularity.

 

We are encouraged by the fact that our elected officials have fixed everything else in the country to the point where looking at caffeinated drinks has become an issue.  However, we haven't changed our view that there isn't a role for the FDA here.

 

Part of us thinks KO should simply buy MNST and use KO's more substantial resources to fight this battle because, and make no mistake about it, they will come for KO's products next (KO's recent efforts to get out in front of the obesity issue tells us there is concern there).  Mayor Bloomberg isn't the only part-time nanny that holds a political office.

 

Hedgeye is an outstanding resource for historical perspective, and part of that is some very quotable quotes.  I prefer to rely more on pop culture for my quotes, and look to Captain Jean-Luc Picard in his fight against the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact - "The line must be drawn here! This far and no further!"

 

- Rob

 

Robert  Campagnino

Managing Director

HEDGEYE RISK MANAGEMENT, LLC

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