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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




  • BETTER: LVS reported a solid beat on the back of better margins in Macao driven by stellar growth on yielding up mass win per table. On the capital side, LVS raised their dividend and bought back a lot of stock. What's not to like? 


  • BETTER:  Mass win per table per day increased 117.7% YoY while mass table, slot and ETG win per day climbed to $4.3 million, an increase of 174.3% YoY, significantly beating estimates.  In the spring, they will bring 75 more mass games.  SCC still has room to grow. 
    • "SCL mass table games has grown 60% in the last year to $920 million from $577 million a year ago in this segment and the margin is still mid-40s, 45%, 46%, 47%."
    • "Upside in this segment comes from the organic growth in the Macau market, specifically in Cotai, our ability to leverage our hotel and retail asset base in Macau and in Cotai, in particular, to drive much higher win per unit, we're just in a unique position to improve dramatically and see SCL's mass table growth grow to $4 billion to $5 billion, $6 billion years ahead."


  • BETTER:  Over 60 tables now in the premium mass segment at Four Seasons.  Four Seasons mass drop was outstanding, up 146% YoY - blowing away estimates.
    • "As we move more into this premium mass business there, I think the numbers will get better and the hold percentage will be what it's going to be. We know with that kind of volume, the hold percentage pretty much stays flattish when it's all said and done."


  • BETTER:  Recurring annual dividend will be increased to $2.00 per share, or $0.50 per quarter, for FY 2014, an increase of 42.9%.  LVS repurchased approximately $299.6 million of common stock (4.6 million shares at a weighted average price of $65.18) during 3Q.  In the future, they expect to buy back >$75MM/month until the remaining $1.65BN authorization is used up.  
    • "We publicized last year that our dividends would increase by a minimum of 10% per year, most of the market expectations are that we'll do actually more than that. But there is a dividend bias in the company to continue to increase the yield on our stock, the stock has gone up, so that means we have to increase our dividends to keep the yield at where it should be. We have announced a $2 billion buyback of stock. We are progressing with that buyback and we'll continue to do that until the $2 billion is taken care of."


  • LITTLE BETTER:  Based on current schedule, LVS is targeting a late 2015 opening, but may be able to open a few months ahead of schedule.  Expect building permit will be given on a timely basis.
    • "Based on our current construction schedule, and subject to timely government approvals, we are targeting the opening of the Parisian Macao for late 2015."


  • SAME:  RC volume rose 17% to $13.8BN.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "We've been pretty consistent in the range of $12 billion to $16 million roll per quarter. I think that will remain intact for the foreseeable future."


  • SAME:  3Q EBITDA of $87.1MM was in-line with expectations.  Table games drop decreased 6.4%
    to $544.3 million reflecting lower baccarat drop.  Slot handle both grew 2.6% YoY.
    • "On the gaming side, we are very dependent on high-end premium Asian players who come here. And although we've participated, we've done very well in that segment, we're happy to be in it, the entire town doesn't share equally in that.  Slot and mass tables continue to be mediocre. I wouldn't call it a head fake as much as it's just a challenging market that will slowly get better, but I wouldn't look for rapid improvement in the next few quarters."
    • "Win per unit per day on the pure mass in Las Vegas is very challenging. The premium mass, the better customer who comes in for special events, fights, high frequent, out of Southern California, that is getting better."

CAT: Does Everyone Think That Everyone Else Thinks CAT Will Miss?



Investors do not seem very negative on the outlook for CAT’s 3Q earnings for an odd reason.  They tend to think that everyone else thinks that CAT will miss, limiting the relevance.   Investors are also looking for an announcement on structural cost actions at Resource Industries, which may cloud the 2H outlook.   Our view is that CAT has an end-market demand problem, not a cost problem.


CAT is also expected to issue preliminary sales and revenue guidance for 2014.  Many expect that it will be the Industrials guide of the quarter.  We think not – few analysts take guidance from CAT seriously anymore.  Remember “steady as she goes” for the 2013 outlook given in 3Q 2012?  Sales and revenues were supposed to be “roughly the same as 2012, in a band of about plus-or-minus 5%.”  Recall that 1Q 2013 sales and revenue were actually down 17.3%.   Following some short-term reaction, the market is likely to take a 2014 outlook with an excavator full of salt. 


We generally do not bet on quarters – it is a tough game.  A change in assumptions for warranty or accounts receivable allowances could leave even the best estimate off target.  A simultaneously announced buyback or acquisition could render the reported results old news before they are even read.  That said, there are a number of reasons why we expect weaker results this quarter.


While we will be ‘surprised’ if results do not disappoint, we are not ‘in’ CAT for this quarter’s results.  Rather we are focused on the long-term down-cycle in resources-related capital spending.  In the long run, resources-related capital spending requires rising commodity prices to remain far above maintenance-type levels.  Currently, resource-related capital spending is well above the levels needed to support long-term demand growth.  



Key Items


CAT Inventories:   CAT has guided flat company level inventories for 2H 2013, meaning that inventory levels at year end should be roughly the same as at the end of 2Q 2013, as we understand it.  However, in the third quarter “inventory could come down some as we have many of our Northern Hemisphere facilities take vacation shutdowns during the months of July and August.”  The company level inventory headwind should have continued into 3Q 2013, but consensus doesn’t seem to reflect it.  Dealer inventories are also expected to decline through 2H 2013.


Can CAT Get To $6.50?  That inventory outlook intersects poorly with the implied margin in current guidance.  Here is what we wrote on 8/9/2013 - our view is unchanged:


To hit guidance, CAT’s margins in 2H would need to improve ~30% vs. 1H with NEGATIVE MIX and NEGATIVE PRICING in Construction Industries and Resource Industries.  Sure, that might happen – and 795F Trucks might fly.   As we have written repeatedly – CAT is letting us down easy (gradually) and we have a tough time getting to $6.00 in 2013 EPS.  This is just a rough sketch of guidance - not what we expect, which we published here.


CAT:  Does Everyone Think That Everyone Else Thinks CAT Will Miss? - asdas1


Current consensus has margins at about 11.5% in the back half of the year, which would also represent a substantial and unlikely improvement in profitability from 1H.  Given the expectation of continued inventory reduction in 3Q, we are not sure why consensus expects margins to expand.  A guide down seems quite likely.


Not Just Resource Industries:  CAT management admonished us not to hyper focus on mining capital spending, shifting investor attention instead to Power Systems.  That may not be a great plan.  We have long expected the resource-related capital equipment portions of Power Systems to also experience meaningful pressure.  The most recent dealer statistics (below) show declining sales in Power Systems. That seems consistent with our broader definition of resource-related capital spending.  It is also not a great set-up for 2014 sales and margins.



CAT:  Does Everyone Think That Everyone Else Thinks CAT Will Miss? - asd2



Construction Industries:  In a noticeable omission, CAT does not fully discuss the >500 basis point drop in Construction Industries margin in 2Q 2013 YoY.  It apparently relates to dealer inventory reductions, too, but that explanation does not fit the ‘it’s just a mining equipment demand drop’ narrative.  CAT’s construction equipment division participates in an intensively competitive business, but we are a bit surprised by the recent weakness.   As we understand it, lower capacity utilization in Resource Industries impacts the other divisions as well, given shared platforms, and that is a very hard problem to isolate or correct.



CAT:  Does Everyone Think That Everyone Else Thinks CAT Will Miss? - asd3



3Q and 4Q Expectations:  Forecasting quarterly earnings for CAT is challenging, in no small part because we do not know how much revenue will come out of the backlog.  Last quarter, CAT emphasized inventory headwinds, but not the draw on backlog and the likely favorable pricing in it. 

  • We expect charges in 3Q for the structural capacity reductions at Resource Industries.  We also think a goodwill impairment charge is likely in 4Q for BUCY goodwill, as impairment testing should come at year-end. 
  • Excluding those factors, we would expect a 3Q result in the neighborhood of $1.30-$1.50 vs. consensus of $1.67.  We could be wrong for several reasons beyond backlog, including currency and cost controls, but that is what we get. Once a company gets into identifying restructuring charges, as CAT seems likely to do this quarter, lots of interesting items can be called special.  That said, we think current guidance is a long-shot and expect CAT to struggle to earn $6.00 this year.
  • Instead of a buyback, we expect a miss to be paired off with a cost reduction plan targeted at Resource Industries.  Of course, the cost impact of low volume at Resource Industries is not easily isolated, so that is where we will be interested to see some detail.  We could obviously be wrong in this expectation.
  • We expect comments about 2014 to be positive and focus on the eventual end of dealer inventory draw downs.  We note that JOY and Sandvik have seen large mining order and revenue drops without a dealer network. 


Other Indicators:  While we do not rely on these sort of tea leaves, secondary indicators for CAT are do not suggest an approaching inflection point:

  • Insiders Selling:  In the last couple of years, insiders have only bought 2,000 shares in the open market while selling hundreds of thousands.  Selling may have slowed down in recent months, but we do not see the open market purchases that might accompany an inflection for CAT.
  • Sell Side Estimate Revision Trends:  Since the first week of October there have been a number of downward revisions to estimates.  Quiet period or not, we all should have a sense of how this ‘revision’ process works.


We continue to see CAT as exposed to a significant, multi-year decline resources-related capital spending through both its Resource Industries and Power Systems segments.  Investors appear to be hoping for a cost reduction plan capable of resolving a lack of demand/cyclical downturn problem.  We continue to expect CAT shares to underperform through the down-cycle.



Solid quarter driven by Macau (esp. Sands Cotai Central and Four Seasons)




  • Hold normalized EPS grew 47.2%
  • Hold adjusted EBITDA of $1.24BN
  • Growing faster than the market in both Mass and VIP in Macau
  • SCC is on track to produce $1BN of EBITDA per year
  • Bridge from HK airport to Macau will be completed by 2016 and should provide a big boost to Macau visitation. The airport provides service to 100 airlines.
  • Construction continues at the Parisian Macau.  They are targeting a late 2015 opening and potentially a bit earlier. 
  • Activity in Japan is increasing
  • Korea is also showing increased activity
  • Madrid:  still subject to the government approvals and incentive grants
  • $5BN of capital returned to shareholders so far.  $1.6BN remaining under the buyback program and in the future expect to buy back at least $75MM of stock per month.
  • 25% of their EBITDA in Macau is generated from non-gaming amenities
  • Focused on maximizing cash flow 



  • 3 of the 4 properties in Macau had north of 30% margins. What are they doing to deliver such strong results?
    • In the Spring, they will open up 75 more mass games at SCC
    • As mass grows at their properties, that helps their margins
    • SCC has a lot of room to grow
    • FS:  Junket performance there is exceptional but are also getting great results out of their premium mass segment.  Think that getting the optimal mix at the property is key.
  • Operating expenses look higher at MBS?
    • They are focused on giving more rooms to their premium mass segment and attracting more overseas visitation. They are up over 46% YoY in that segment (visitation).
    • Their goal is to get to more than $5MM/day of premium mass play vs. $4-5MM now
  • What was the cash RevPAR/ADR at MBS? Looks like commissions increased?
    • Commissions remained the same
    • They are comping more rooms to overseas guests (RWS is doing the same thing). This has had some impact on margins.
    • Their casino ADRs are higher than cash ADRs
  • CFO search has not actually begun. Will not start until end of the year/beginning of 2014
  • FCPA investigation update? Nothing new to report.
  • Non-Guangdong visitation into Macau is also growing faster than Guangdong visitation
  • They will not be opportunistic re: stock buybacks - they have committed to $75MM per month until the $1.65BN is used up.
  • There has not been a discussion regarding special dividends. That will be discussed at year end.
  • Japan would be north of a $6BN investment 
  • In Korea they would spend less than what they spent in Singapore
  • In Vietnam it would be less than Korea given lower labor costs
  • In Taiwan, costs would be similar to Korea
  • Next year's capex: $500MM of capex on their existing properties - 50/50 split between maintenance and revenue enhancing projects
  • Table cap is good for them because it increases the yield per table and that benefits margins. Given the size of their buildings they can also keep adding ETGs.
  • Japan: no news regarding partnerships.  Have been all kinds of rumors but there has been no clarification of Japanese ownership. They are talking about finishing the first phase of legislation complete by December/ January.  Thinks that both Osaka and Tokyo want LVS.
  • Government approvals still needed for the Parisian project
    • Building permits
    • Table allocations (hearing that some people won't be happy with their allocations). They will just take the lower performing tables from their other properties.
  • Reserve levels in Singapore as high as they have ever been?  They have always reserved conservatively at 32% now. Collecting money has always been difficult since they are usually from mainland customers



  • "The prudent management of our cash flow, including the ability to increase the return of capital to shareholders while maintaining a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity to invest in future growth opportunities, remains a cornerstone of our strategy. I am therefore extremely pleased to announce that our recurring annual dividend will be increased to $2.00 per share, or $0.50 per quarter, for the 2014 calendar year, an increase of 42.9%." 
  • The company repurchased approximately $299.6 million of common stock (4.6 million shares at a weighted average price of $65.18) during the quarter ended September 30, 2013
  • Venetian visitation "continues to grow and exceeded 4.5 million visits in the quarter"
  • Unrestricted cash: $3.2BN
  • Total debt: $9.8BN
  • 3Q Capex: $206MM; "including construction, development and maintenance activities of $152.7 million in Macao, $26.0 million at Marina Bay Sands, $25.3 million in Las Vegas, and $1.5 million at Sands Bethlehem"

[video] Jobless Claims: Reading Muddy Tea Leaves

Houston, We Have a Growth Problem: Kinder Morgan 3Q13 Recap

The Kinder Morgan Complex (KMI, KMP / KMR, and EPB) delivered modestly negative 3Q13 results and implied 4Q13 guidance after yesterday’s close.  In our view, both MLPs have growth problems and significantly understated maintenance CapEx figures. 


Below we provide some thoughts following the results; we’ll have additional color after the 10-Q’s are filed next week.


Short Kinder Morgan remains a Best Idea.



  • Can KMP grow on a per unit basis?  KMP’s 3Q13 DCF/unit fell 1% YoY to $1.27 (0.94x coverage).  We don’t consider DCF overly useful because we believe that KMP’s sustaining CapEx is significantly understated.  KMP’s net income/unit (before Certain Items), which we do find useful, came in at $0.51, down 11% from $0.57 in 3Q13.  The delta between the drop in earnings relative to DCF is likely due to the CPNO acquisition.  KMP closed on CPNO on 5/1/13, and CPNO’s maintenance CapEx is likely more understated than legacy KMP’s – the “Copano Case II Projections” published in CPNO’s 4/22/13 8-K lists maintenance CapEx of $20MM and adjusted EBITDA of $361MM for 2013 (maintenance CapEx = 5.5% of EBITDA).  CPNO is an operationally-levered G&P that needs to build new infrastructure to keep throughput from declining wells flat; maintaining “capacity” is near irrelevant.  Many MLP G&Ps have this problem; KMP inherited CPNO’s.  In 3Q13, KMP’s total organic expansion CapEx was ~$875MM, while sustaining CapEx was $92MM.  Over the TTM, KMP has invested more than $10B (acquisitions and CapEx), and KMP’s earnings and DCF per unit are down YoY.  And this is a longer-term problem.  KMP’s net income per unit was $0.54/unit back in 3Q08, higher than it was in 3Q13.  Is KMP too big to grow?  Is KMP’s cost of equity (IDR burden) too high?  It seems that way to us…
  • Where’s the Natural Gas segment growth?  Is KMP’s natural gas segment growing?  On a pro forma basis, natural gas transport volumes were down 5.7% YoY, sales volumes were up 1.0% YoY, and gathering volumes were up 1.4% YoY.  Not impressive – especially when considering the wide gap between sustaining and expansion CapEx.  Using the CPNO Case II projections (full-year 2013) and KMP’s 2013 budget, annual Natural Gas segment expansion CapEx is ~$1,560MM (ex. acquisitions) and maintenance CapEx is $139MM.  On the conference call, we asked management to give us G&P maintenance and expansion CapEx, which they could not do.  We find it hard to believe that KM does not have these figures, as it does break out EBDA for the midstream business (TX Intrastate + G&P) in its annual investor presentation.  KMP’s midstream segment + a full-year of Copano would generate ~$1,200MM of annual EBDA, according to management’s projections.  If these segments are growing, it is low, single-digit growth.  What is run-rate CapEx for this business?  How much total CapEx is needed to maintain unit volumes over the long-term?  And how much of that CapEx is currently included in sustaining CapEx?  It’s difficult to know with publicly-available data.  But CPNO Case II calls for $672MM in expansion CapEx in 2013 on its own – so pro forma CapEx number could be $800MM - $1,000MM, but only a small fraction will be in sustaining CapEx.  We believe that KMP’s G&P business – especially after the acquisition of CPNO – is another maintenance CapEx problem.
  • Bearish tone to guidance…Kinder Morgan guided down its 2013 EBDA outlook for Product Pipelines (KMCC volumes cited), and was incrementally negative on KMP Natural Gas and Canada.  Management noted that, “If you look at [the Natural Gas segment] without Copano, the Natural Gas segment would be slightly below its budget.”  Not great news for KMP’s most important segment.  The outlooks for CO2 and Terminals were in-line with prior guidance.  No change to LT distribution / dividend growth rate guidance.  See Table below:

 Houston, We Have a Growth Problem: Kinder Morgan 3Q13 Recap - km1

  • Questions remain on El Paso maintenance CapEx cuts.  As management noted on its 9/18/13 investor call, the 2013 maintenance CapEx budget for the acquired El Paso subsidiaries is $132MM, down $222MM (-63%) from the $354MM that EP spent in 2011, which was in-line with the run-rate over the prior decade.  Kinder Morgan again attempted to reconcile the drop with the general argument that an increase in O&M expense explains it; 2013 O&M expense for pipeline integrity is expected to be +$63MM and non-pipeline O&M expenses -$33MM, or +$30MM net.  This doesn’t do it for us.  First of all, on the prior call, KM spoke to FERC financials.  Now, it is pointing us to the GAAP financials.  The FERC financials show that transmission maintenance expenses (mains and non-mains) are down ~80% from 2011 (annualizing the 1H13 numbers).  Second, let’s not lose sight of the big picture – Kinder Morgan cut more than $400MM of annual expenses and maintenance CapEx from these budgets, with only $161MM on the G&A line.  Perhaps some of the maintenance CapEx found its way into the expansion CapEx budget (TGP pig launchers / receivers, for instance), but it’s difficult to know with publicly-available data.  The important point is that, as Kinder Morgan said on its 9/18/13 call, “…everything that you do eventually gets into the rates you charge for your transportation services.”

 Houston, We Have a Growth Problem: Kinder Morgan 3Q13 Recap - km2a


  • $285MM Goldsmith acquisition cost should be deducted from DCF.  In June 2013, KMP CO2 acquired Goldsmith Landreth San Andres Unit in West Texas from Legado Resources for $285MM.  This acquisition serves to replace declining production from SACROC and Yates.  It makes no difference whether or not KMP invests organically or via acquisition to keep total oil production and reserves flat – the capital is needed to maintain the total cash flows, and it all should be deducted from DCF to acknowledge that fact (note: VNR, PVR, and NRP know this issue well).    
  • We find it funny that…The sub-title on KMP’s press release reads “Third Quarter DCF 22 Percent Higher Than 3Q 2013.”  Let’s be clear – this is KMP’s absolute DCF number, not DCF/unit, which was down 1% YoY from $1.28/unit to $1.27/unit.  Great marketing though… 

 Houston, We Have a Growth Problem: Kinder Morgan 3Q13 Recap - km3



  • KMI 2013 dividend guidance flat…KMI is to declare dividends of “at least” $1.60/share in 2013.  Similar guidance to prior comment on 7/17: “We remain on target to meet or exceed our goal of $1.60 declared dividends for full-year 2013.”
  • KMI reloads the share / warrant repurchase program…KMI approves $250MM share / warrant repurchase; in addition to (but a smaller program than) the $350MM share / warrant repurchase approved in July 2013, of which $16MM of capacity remains.   
  • KMI dividend coverage = 1.00x...KMI is running tight dividend coverage, which could be a problem with growth issues at the MLPs, exposure to oil prices, natural gas contract rolls, and the 348MM warrant overhang.  YTD coverage is 0.99x vs. 1.10x in the first 9 months of 2012.


  • Lackluster quarter and outlook…EPB’s DCF/unit came in at $0.58 (0.89x coverage), down 18% YoY, and earnings/unit came in at $0.40, down 27% YoY.  Lower revenues from SNG and WIC due to adverse rate cases, as wells as a higher IDR fee to KMI, weighed, and could not overcome the drop in sustaining CapEx (down 31% YoY) even as D&A moved marginally higher (up 7% YoY).  Transport volumes were 7.3 Bbtu/d, down 9% YoY, largely due to cooler summer temps.  The near-term outlook is uninspiring with the Gulf LNG drop pushed out and still widely anticipated (priced-in?), and the additional, negative revenue impact from the rate cases and contract expiry's.  In our view, EPB is a sell, but not a short; we prefer the KMP short for several reasons, including our belief that KMP may acquire EPB at some point.

Conference Call Q&A


We got some air time on the conference call yesterday, and we used the opportunity to explore what we believe is one of KMP’s biggest issues, understated sustaining CapEx.  While the questions weren't exactly answered, we got our point across - DCF is not FCF:


"Question – Kevin Kaiser: A question on CapEx for gathering and processing. What is CapEx budget for gathering and processing on a quarterly basis including Copano?


Answer – Steve Kean: I don't know if we have that number broken down.


Answer – Rich Kinder: We don't break it out separately. It's part of our natural gas CapEx.


Answer – Steve Kean: We have CapEx on Copano and Altamont and some in Texas, some in other -- in Texas as well but we don't have a break out of that.


Question – Kevin Kaiser: Okay so no break out for G&P by sustaining CapEx versus expansion CapEx either?


Answer – Steve Kean: No, I think that's just aggregated in our total Gas Group.


Answer – Rich Kinder: Total Natural Gas segment aggregates all of the -- whether sustaining CapEx or the expansion CapEx is all aggregated.


Question – Kevin Kaiser: Okay, and then on the Company wide -- so the budget for this year for sustaining CapEx will be $339 million. That's before Copano. If KMP only spent that on an annual basis, so no organic expansion CapEx, how would the segments perform over the long term? Would the Company be able to keep cash flow flat?


Answer – Rich Kinder: I'm sorry, I don't--


Answer – Kim Dang: Well, I think that we have growth -- are you asking if there's growth absent spending CapEx in KMP?


Question – Kevin Kaiser: The question is really if the budget was only limited to the sustaining CapEx, would the additional asset base be able to -- would it be maintained -- would the cash flows be maintained over the long term $339 million?


Answer – Rich Kinder: Oh, I see your question. Yes, we've said this several times and these are ballpark numbers, of course, but generally speaking that 5% or 6% this year happens to be 7% growth in distributions. We think probably 1.5% to 2% is organic growth, in other words, if you didn't spend any capital you would get that. At KMP that comes from a number of things. One is, of course, the inflation escalator that we have on our FERC-regulated products pipelines. The second is on automatic escalators that we have on some of our terminal assets. So you'd probably have we estimate 1.5% to 2% growth if you didn't spend any capital. And then the rest of that growth comes from -- primarily from new projects that come on line.


Answer – Steve Kean: That's obviously subject to market conditions. Market conditions determine the growth on just the existing asset base on a stand-alone basis.


Question – Kevin Kaiser: Right and how would 1% to 2% organic growth be possible with just $339 million if you spend about $400 million in E&P alone and that's not in the sustaining CapEx budget?


Answer – Rich Kinder: As I just said, I'm not following your question I guess. You ask how much organic growth you had without expansion CapEx and that's the kind of number that we use, about 1.5% to 2%. Kim?


Answer – Kim Dang: Kevin, is your question if CO2 production would stay flat if we weren't spending expansion capital?


Question – Kevin Kaiser: No, the question is really if you -- on the business, the entire KMP business how would cash flows trend over the long term if we only spend $339 million a year in Capital Expenditures.


Answer – Kim Dang: I think Rich just answered it.


Question – Kevin Kaiser: Okay and then the last question I have is do you consider distributable cash flow to be synonymous with free cash flow?


Answer – Kim Dang: Kevin, look, what we're looking at is how much cash flow that the MLP generates before expansion capital. Because our partnership agreement requires us to finance expansion capital, to distribute everything that we generate and to finance our expansion capital. So what we are comparing, distributable cash flow is to the cash flow that we have available for distributions to our unit holders before we factor in expansion CapEx.


Question – Kevin Kaiser: Okay, so you would say it's not -- you would not say that free cash flow and distributable cash flow are the same thing?


Answer – Kim Dang: If you're defining free cash flow as cash flow after expansion CapEx, then I would say that distributable cash flow and free cash flow are not the same thing but it depends on how you're defining free cash flow.


Question – Kevin Kaiser: I would define free cash flow as cash flow from operations minus the capital expenditures needed on an annual basis to maintain those cash flows from operations?


Answer – Kim Dang: Well that is not, unfortunately, that is nice that you would interpret it that way but that's not the way that our partnership agreement defines it and therefore, that's not the way we are allowed to segregate it."  (Source: Thomson StreetEvents)


Kevin Kaiser

Senior Analyst

PM – Underperformance Continues

Philip Morris International reported Q3 2013 results this morning that mostly reflected a continuation of last quarter’s weak performance.  For now the third straight quarter this year the company revised down its FY EPS guidance, to $5.35-5.40 vs prior guidance of $5.43-5.53, citing FX headwinds, restructuring costs, and macro developments.    


Despite some mild improvements sequentially, our call remains that PM will be challenged to meet its FY guidance given a weak macro environment across its regions and due to pressures from excise tax hikes and increased illicit trade.  On the margin, last night’s debt ceiling compromise could put upward pressure in the U.S. dollar, and therefore provide a further headwind for Q4 results.


Our preferred tobacco play on the long side remains Lorillard (LO).


On the Quarter:

Optically, revenues were in line with consensus and showed a big improvement sequentially at +0.1% versus -2.5% in Q2 2013, however Q3 was against a very easy comp of -5.3% in Q3 2012. Total volume was down -5.7% Y/Y (a deceleration versus -3.9% last quarter). PM was able to take pricing despite challenged volume results and printed EPS of $1.44 (in line with consensus), and +12% above the previous year quarter.


Under the Hood:

  • Volumes down across all regions (EU, EEMA, Asia, and LA & Canada)
  • Asia Notably Weak: volume down -7.8%; revenue down -7.9%
  • Excise tax hike taken in January 2013 in the Philippines continues to be a significant hit to volumes, with further hike(s) expected; tax hike in Indonesia expected to be announced next month
  • EU Stronger: revenue up +7.3%, with share momentum across all brands in region
  • Weakness in France’s volume (-10.8%) partially offset by strength in Germany (+0.8%)
  • Russia seeing strong pricing alongside -10.1% volume hit
  • CFO Olczak marginally bullish on the EU Tobacco Products Directive:
    • Places size of health warning at 65%  (vs 75% proposed)
    • Flavored cigarettes, such as menthol, to be banned in 8 years instead of 3
    • Slim cigarettes permitted
    • E-cigs to be regulated as tobacco product, not as medical devices

On E-cigs:

CFO Olczak is positive on the EU Tobacco Directive as it relates to regulating e-cigs as tobacco products and not as medical devices.  He reiterated that PM is working on a few alternative products (including an e-cig) that are slated for full commercialization in 2016-17. With regards to PM being late to the E-cig show, Olczak said that most e-cig makers now focus much of their attention on marketing, and less on the product, and PM’s focused on going to market with the right product, not about being the first mover.


While we think next generation products will turn more attention to product development to mimicking even closer a traditional cigarette, we would be concerned that PM’s big tobacco rivals and a few select private players also have significant budgets and R&D underway to bring better e-cig products to the market (and perhaps sooner than PM’s extended timeline). The caveat here is that as regulatory frameworks around e-cigs evolve globally, the landscape, and players involved, is subject to change.


PM Levels:

PM is trading below our intermediate term TREND duration level of $90.44 and below our immediate term TRADE level of $90.05. This is an indication to use to remain bullish on the stock.


PM – Underperformance Continues - z. pm


Matthew Hedrick

Senior Analyst


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