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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




  • WORSE:  A big cut in guidance confirms our regional gaming thesis. It's not just the economy.  Demographics are a big headwind. Our model predicted a tough June but a flattish July. With management portraying July as similar to June, underlying demand is actually getting worse.




  • WORSE:  While spend per visit hasn't changed much, visitiation count has decreased a couple of % points.  Consumers are more conservative with their discretionary spending.  July trends are similar to June's.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "Most of our data suggests that the weather had a big impact on visitation. We didn't see much change in spend per visit at our core properties year-over-year. Most of the effect was admission trends and visitation trends that I think were either impacted by new competition in our markets or weather-related. It doesn't seem to be any change in consumer spending when they do visit our properties. It's been more of the same, generally flat."


  • WORSE:  Horseshoe Cincinnati has been very aggressive with discounting, pressuring Hollywood Columbus results, which has significantly underperformed expectations.  Cleveland is another market that is highly promotional.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "I would continue to characterize overall the promotional activity across these regional markets as fairly stable."


  • WORSE:  Mgmt says margins and market share at its Columbus facility are below their expectations.  Its Toledo property's top line results have met their expectations though operating margins were weaker than they anticipated.  
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "I think you're going to see another build that will start in the July-August timeframe as we hit the summer months as well. We're still working on marketing activities to continue to expose our new property to customers for the first time, and that's gone very well. Our repeat visitation has been very, very strong; our database growth continues to be very, very strong. So, this is very typical what we've seen in how Penn National opens a property in both Toledo and Columbus."


  • SAME:  Received approval from the Ohio Racing Commission for the relocation of Beulah Park in Columbus to Austintown in Mahoning Valley and for Raceway Park in Toledo to move to Dayton.  Both facilities expected to open 2H 2014.  PENN will be conservative with the slot count.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "The two next projects are Youngstown and Dayton racetracks. Capital spend, which includes $125 million for license, basically a relocation fee and a gaming license. And so we're looking to $267 million and $257 million of cap spend, which will happen over the course of the next year and a half. We expect to open sometime in 2014." 


  • SAME:  No changes to financing costs.  Mgmt sees no obstacles to completing the spin-off.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "Next steps, we have to finalize the Carlino Group agreement. We need to finalize our financing agreements with our banks. We also have to start the process of refinancing of all of PENN's existing debt and putting in place the bank agreement, as well as the bonds for the transaction going forward. And then we would expect that in the fourth quarter that we'll complete the spin and the E&P purge will happen hopefully in the first quarter of 2014, at which point in time, we'll make our REIT election."


  • SAME:  Governor has given cafe operators 90 days to collect their signatures. Senate legislation has passed a bill enforcing the ban.  Mgmt is hopeful the House will come back in early September and support the bill.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "My expectation is once the internet cafes do get contained, we will see improved business volumes, and it's just going to be a wait and see approach on how we address the overall count in the Columbus operation. But I would expect at this point that the 2,500 count that we have there today will get us through 2013."


  • SAME:  Had significant construction disruption in 2Q.  Remains on schedule with 5 months left of construction and on budget.  $61MM have been spent with $32.8MM remaining on capex.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "We're planning to spend roughly $61 million in total to rehab the property. One of the things about purchasing an asset from Harrah's was we recognized that there have been some deferred maintenance and also that the property needed to be refreshed and obviously the slot product needed some updating."

[VIDEO] #RatesRising: Q3 Macro Theme #1


‘POP!’ goes the bubble as interest rates start to rise, reversing the most asymmetrical set of relationships on our Macro screen. Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough goes out a macro limb and says we are not likely to see the 2012 lows on 10-year bond yields ever again. Moreover, McCullough shows that as the slope for interest rates turns up, so much that has been tied to declining rates will unravel.


PENN in line with recently reduced estimates but guidance far worse than consensus. Demographic headwinds continue to pressure revenues.



 “Given the trends from the first two quarters, results thus far in July, and a lack of visibility on factors that would improve national regional gaming revenue trends, we are guarded in our outlook for the remainder of the year. 


-Peter M. Carlino, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Penn National Gaming




  • 2Q was disappointing 
    • General softness through most of the properties
    • Cannibalization effect was already taken into their guidance
    • Missed expectations mainly due to slow Ohio ramp
  • Lower trip visitation across mature properties; a different trend from spend per visit weakness in the past
  • Hollywood St. Louis:  tornado impacted 1st couple days in June; facility had some damage but nothing long-term. Significant construction disruption in 2Q as they rebrand to Hollywood.  About 5 months of construction left.
  • Lawrenceburg:  impacted by Horseshoe Cincinnati's aggressive promotional discounting. PENN views the promotions as 'insane'.
  • Toledo:  margins continue to get better but below mgmt expectations.  Expect year 2 to be better than year 1. Worried about Greektown ownership and potential to be Cincinnati-like.
  • Maryland Live! operators have been rational.  Charlestown in-line with expectations.
  • Columbus:  performance below expectations - had expected to be market leader.  50/50 share with Scioto Downs even though they outspend PENN 2:1
  • Ohio will take time to ramp
  • Ex all the noise, 2Q was really a miss of $15MM.  Previous guidance had priced in a much better 2nd half of 2013.
  • Confident Columbus will eventually get to cash-on-cash 20% return
  • Level of construction disruption have been higher than expected
  • Baton Rouge/Maryland have suffered from cannibalization but mgmt have expected those

Q & A

  • July trends:  looking like June
  • Reduced trips trend:  customers visitation patterns have lessened (down a couple of % points); consumers more conservative with their discretionary spending
  • Lower guidance breakdown:  $15MM Ohio EBITDA guide downs each for 3Q and 4Q (assume Ohio market share and margins to remain constant), bonus/legal costs are a couple of million due to Sioux City, St. Louis expectations brought down.
  • Penn National will have a 3Q report
  • Borrowing costs have not been changed
  • 2Q Cash: $235MM; bank debt $2.137BN, capital lease: $13MM, bonds: $325MM - total debt $2.476BN
  • 2Q capex $53.9MM ($23.9MM Maintance capex, $30MM project capex (Columbus-- little less than 1/2 the balance, Hollywood St. Louis spent $9.4MM) 
  • 2013 capex guidance: $196MM project capex
  • Dayton/Youngstown: will be conservative with slot count;
  • Slot licene Massachusetts: still speculative stage; 1,250 slot units 
  • Diversify outside regional gaming? Highly focused on gaming
  • Should compare Columbus to Kansas City, Missouri
  • Conservative guidance? It's realistic.
  • Lowered cash component of E&P distribution to $294MM - came to conclusion of similar debt leverage for both companies; to reduce amount of borrowing, they had to reduce cash.
  • PropCo dividends:  if they lose Sioux City, it will have a minor effect on dividends; expect to see increase in Toledo/Columbus rent in 2014
  • To fund acquisitions, they will use secondary equity offerings that will be accretive to shareholders
  • Promotional activity: Cleveland/Cincinnati are high. Are reinvesting with VIP slot players, particularly female ones
  • No obstacles with REIT spin-off process
  • Columbus: can get to 30% margin
  • 2014 EBITDA should be 'clearly higher' than the 2013 guidance of $805MM
  • Internet Ohio cafe ban:  Governor has given cafe operators 90 days to collect their signatures. Senate legislation has passed a bill enforcing the ban; hopeful the House will come back in early September and support the bill.
    • In PENN survey, 10% of respondents have been to an Internet cafe

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Takeaway: CPS household formation data has been a good leading indicator for housing's momentum. This morning's June data is the strongest YTD.

This note was originally published July 16, 2013 at 16:04 in Financials

One of Housing's Leading Indicators Grows Increasingly More Positive

The latest household formation data is solid - a sequential acceleration. The Census Bureau just released its June household formation survey data, which showed that at the end of June there were 122,881,824 households in the United States. This data comes from their monthly phone survey of 50,000 households, which is statistically representative of the country as a whole.


The proper contextualization is to look at the rate of year-over-year growth since the data is not seasonally adjusted. On that basis, the U.S. added 1,507,553 net new households vs. June 2012. This is a rate in excess of the 2011-Present average of 1,391,889. In the charts below we present various snapshots of the trends in household formation. Most of the data is self-explanatory, however, the hatched red line in the second chart, for clarification, shows the rolling 12-month average rate of YoY growth. That figure currently stands at 1,655,470 through June. 










We wrote a note recently (May 15) entitled "Housing: A Double From Here?", in which we argued that the rate of building construction could double from present levels to ~2 million starts/year over time. For the detailed take on why we think that's likely, refer to our note. The executive summary, however, is that by applying the JCHS ratio of 1.35-1.39 new housing units to net new household formations (see the table above), and using the current rolling average rate of household formation, we find that we would need (1.655 * 1.35) =  2.2 million new starts. Using just the June data, we find a need for (1.507 * 1.35) = 2.03 million new housing units. For reference, this compares with the 0.914 million starts rate for May. We'll get the June data tomorrow. This morning's NAHB HMI builder confidence reading of 57, a 6 point month-over-month increase, also concurs with the trends we're seeing in HH formation.


The ratio of single-family/multifamily is open for debate, but we looked at this issue in our note (June 5) "Housing: Are Rising Rates a Big Deal", and concluded that a) ownership remains highly compelling vs. renting at the national level in spite of the recent back-up in rates, and b) the ratio of single family to total has averaged 72% since 1960 and is currently at 72%.


Last month we cautioned that in light of the recent run-up in rates, it would be more instructive to watch HH formation trends in June/July. Now, with the June data in hand, we think there's growing evidence that the rise in rates thus far hasn't derailed the housing recovery's momentum.


Joshua Steiner, CFA




Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT




Morning Reads on Our Radar Screen

Takeaway: A look at stories on Hedgeye's radar screen.

Keith McCullough – CEO

Japan upgrades economic assessment (via UPI)

Brazil Cuts $4.5 Billion in Spending to Meet Fiscal Goal (via Bloomberg)

Syria conflict: Top US general outlines military options (via BBC)


Morning Reads on Our Radar Screen - radar


Daryl Jones – Macro

VIDEO - Southwest's LaGuardia Airport Landing Gear Collapse Results In Injuries (via HuffPost)

Great Graphic: European Unemployment and Science and Technology (via Marc to Market)


Josh Steiner – Financials

#BallooningPensionCosts Snapshot of pension cost increases from 2011 to 2013 across various muni jurisdictions of NY (via RocDocs)

Jonathan Casteleyn – Financials

Biggest Banks Face Fed Restoring Barriers in Commodities (via Bloomberg)


Tom Tobin – Healthcare

Waters Corp. (WAT) Announces Quarterly Earnings, Misses Expectations By $0.13 EPS (via WatchList News)


MCD remains on the Hedgeye best ideas list as a SHORT.


The company reported disappointing 2Q13 results relative to expectations yesterday, adding merit to our view that management remains hard-pressed to improve MCD’s operational performance.  Importantly, we fail to see any indication that these changes will transpire soon.


MCD continues to blame a “challenging environment” as the largest contributor to the company’s issues without any mention of internal operational issues.  According to management, all 2013 product launches are working and achieving internal growth targets.  Despite this, same-store sales are missing expectations.


Until management acknowledges the internal challenges it faces, disappointment relative to expectations will persist.




  • Flat to declining markets – from an IEO perspective, the company is seeing contraction in 7 out of 11 of its top markets
  • No pricing flexibility – MCD’s price increase was 1.5% at the end of 2Q13, down 120 bps from 2Q12
  • Increasing cost pressures across the P&L – management needs to cut G&A in order to hit the numbers
  • Increasing competition – Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and others are outperforming McDonald’s



  • The financial fundamentals of the company remain strong
  • The McDonald’s asset base is strong – more than half of its global stores reflect the current contemporary look



  • The company guided to flat July global same-store sales versus expectations of a 2.9% increase and expects the rest of the year to remain challenging
  • Management blamed the “challenging environment” for the decline in same-store sales rather than take responsibility for the poor results
  • Germany (MCD’s biggest international market) sales trends are negative and there does not appear to be a viable plan to fix this
  • France and other key markets in Europe are cutting labor costs (i.e. realized labor productivity gains), which is a red flag in a declining same-store sales environment
  • Cutting G&A in the current environment is also a sign of weakness and a major red flag – lower incentive compensation and efficiency gains are unsustainable
  • Lower unit growth in China means that I lost a bet to Tim Jerzyk, formerly of YUM









MCD – OWNING UP? - MCD Global Now




Howard Penney

Managing Director

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 80.48%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.35%