VIDEO: Bullish On Babies


Hedgeye Director of Research Daryl Jones appeared on Yahoo! Finance's Big Data Download this morning to discuss recent birth trends and how it can be a leading economic indicator. The increase in births has led to an increase in household formation. This is a huge boost for organic growth as well as the housing market and thus the US economy. 


You can watch the full video with Daryl above.

JAPAN: Passing The Torch

Japan has been following in the footsteps of the United States lately and is burning the Japanese Yen. The value of the Yen has fallen considerably since the beginning of 2013 as the Bank of Japan decides that monetary stimulus is a positive. Sure enough, the Nikkei 225 Index is up +65% since November 2012. Stocks are going to go up anywhere when the political class is hellbent on printing money. We'll see what Japan has up its sleeve for their next trick.


JAPAN: Passing The Torch - FXYperf

Squeezing Commodities

Gold and other commodities have fallen in value considerably since the US dollar started appreciating in value in February. Gold remains in bearish formation and crude oil (OIL) is next in line for a (likely) squeeze. Cheaper gas equates to more consumption and that's good for growth and stocks.


Squeezing Commodities - YTDOIL

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 80.52%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.67%


The upside in McDonald’s stock is not being driven by the company’s fundamentals. The underperformance in the stock since we added it to our Best Ideas list on 4/25, is , is likely to continue and, if we are right on the numbers, could become worse for shareholders.


The company has a lot of work to do to turn its operational performance around and we are not seeing any indication that this reversal will transpire any time soon. Management's recital of the (stale) tenets of the current Plan to Win, “optimize our menu, modernize the customer experience and broaden accessibility to brand McDonald's around the world”, as an answer to all ills, does not instill confidence that the current leadership is coming up with new ideas to counteract the company’s current operating headwinds. 



April SRS vs Consensus (Consensus Metrix)

  • US Beat: +0.7% versus consensus -0.1%
  • Europe Missed: -2.4% versus consensus -1.0%
  • APMEA Missed: -2.9% versus consensus -1.4%
  • Global Missed: -0.6% versus consensus -0.5%

United States: “Premium McWraps, compelling value options and the ongoing popularity of McDonald's breakfast contributed to the month's results.


Europe: “positive performance in the U.K. and Russia more than offset by Germany, France and other markets.”


APMEA: Results reflected “the impact of Avian influenza, primarily in China, and softer results in Japan and Australia.”



Without Sales Growth, Earnings Growth Will Be Difficult


In 1Q13, McDonald’s posted revenue growth of +0.9% on systemwide sales growth of 0%. One month into the second quarter, MCD systemwide sales have decreased -0.4%.  The Street is expecting 3% revenue growth in the second quarter.


MCD NOT GOING TO HIT NUMBERS - mcd sales eps leverage1




MCD NOT GOING TO HIT NUMBERS - mcd systemwide sales



May and June will be crucial months for McDonald’s.  A sequential acceleration in two-year average trends of 105 bps is needed to meet May consensus comparable sales growth in the U.S. So far this year, the two-year trend in U.S. comps has decelerated every month by an average of 83 basis points.


MCD NOT GOING TO HIT NUMBERS - mcd global comps






MCD NOT GOING TO HIT NUMBERS - mcd apmea comps



Long-Term Trend Remains Discouraging


MCD NOT GOING TO HIT NUMBERS - mcd srs global ttm



Howard Penney

Managing Director


Rory Green

Senior Analyst





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:  We were ahead of consensus and MPEL still managed to beat our numbers by 2%.  Continued mix shift toward mass helped margins.



  • BETTER:  Group-wide RC volumes have grown +18%, significantly outperforming the market and highlighting MPEL's success with its ongoing table optimization strategy whereby they focus on maximizing group-wide EBITDA by yielding up each individual table.
  • PREVIOUSLY: “Our table yields at the City of Dreams continue to outperform all other major properties in Macau while at the same time our table yields in the rolling chip segment at both Altira Macau and City of the Dreams continue to improve. Our table optimization initiative is ongoing, as we proactively look for ways to maximize the performance of our most scarce and valuable resource."


  • SAME:  Remains on time and on budget.  Capex 1Q was US$40MM.  Construction cost guidance of US$2.04 billion is unchanged. (2013: $800MM-$1BN).  Most of the piling work is substantially completed.  In the few months, the structure will come out of the ground.  There are 800-1,000 workers on the structure.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "Studio City remains on track to open around mid-2015. With regards to Studio City, we've been in heavy-duty construction mode since summer. We have done, I think, 95% of the piling work, and we are ready to move on to the basement very soon. We have about 500 workers on site, and so far the main contractor has been doing a good job."


  • BETTER: CoD margins were 29.5% this quarter despite a low hold rate. MPEL believes that as mix continues to shift towards mass they have room to continue to grow margins.
  • PREVIOUSLY: “So I think we are looking at somewhere at this very moment at 20% to 27% in terms of CoD margin, and we're looking at some improvement from this level onward."


  • SAME:  Is optimistic on breaking ground before the end of 2013
  • PREVIOUSLY: “We were optimistic that obviously Phase 3 is still subject to our official Board approval, but I think we are very advanced in terms of the designs and schematic designs. We are waiting – as you know, Phase 3 used to be apartment hotels. So we are waiting for that piece of land to be re-gazetted, and the moment it's re-gazetted we're almost ready to go. So we are optimistic that it could get started at the end of this year."


  • SAME: Lawrence is more optimistic on market growth in Macau than at the outside of the year, although the did not quantify it
  • PREVIOUSLY: “So we're very optimistic. I think with the new administration will – is ramping up at this stage, and I think, give them a few more months they will be in full swing. At the same time, if you look at most of the China production index, they have all turned quite positive over the last little while. So our view is that the market this year should definitely grow stronger than last year. And I think we always predicted a 10%, 15% or more growth. So I think there would probably be more upside than downside."


  • SAME:  Will open in mid-2014.  No change in ROIC minimum expectation of 20%. MPEL is optimistic proposed tax changes will get favorably resolved
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "For the Philippines, we anticipate spending approximately $450 million to $475 million this year into that project."


  • SAME:  Committed to returning shareholder capital through a buyback or issuing a dividend in the future.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "We would want to see dividend definitely sooner rather than later. We will continue to monitor that. I think if 2013 plays out to the way we've been able to play out and given the development nature is as smooth as we hope it will be, I definitely think we can commit to the dividend policy early."



"I am pleased to announce another record quarter of EBITDA and EBITDA margin for our Company. We continue to deliver strong growth in gaming fundamentals and profitability through a clear focus on execution across our exceptional portfolio of operating assets. City of Dreams mass market tables were again the most productive mass market tables of all major properties in Macau, which is particularly important in a table constrained market."


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




  • Margins across all their mass margin segments have shown improvement, which is apparent in their results. Also delivered record RC volumes despite a reallocation of VIP tables to premium mass
  • Heguin island continues to develop
  • Believe that their expertise in Macau will be a competitive advantage in the Phillipines
  • MSC remains on time and on budget to open in 2015.
  • Moving forward with their PH3 expansion at CoD. Optimistic that they will break ground before YE 
  • On a luck adjusted basis, 1Q13 EBITDA would have been $280MM using a win rate of 2.85%
  • Recently paid down the balance of their R/C by $200MM, reducing annual interest by $4MM
  • Non-operating guidance for 2Q
    • D&A: $90-95
    • Corporate: $20-22MM
    • Interest expense: $40-42MM (finance lease interest of 10MM on MCP and 11MM of interest in MSC)


  • Tax changes in the Phillipinnes?  Confident that the additional tax rate can be neutralized by other changes. The 4 casinos are united against the tax change. 
  • CoD: proposing to build an iconic hotel in tower 3 and get potentially more tables in the future. However, even without additional tables they believe that they can get a great return on that project.
  • Smoking ban?  Recognize that the quality of the air in the casino needs to be cleaner. For now though, they believe that their air quality is cleaner than hospitals. 
  • Pick up in volume in VIP RC? Believe that the change in the government transition that was completed in March assured many of their customers and removed a cloud of uncertainty, so now people are comfortable to spend again. Also believe that a lot of CNY VIP customers stayed away because of overcrowding too. Their thoughts on growth for the year are a lot more optimistic than earlier in the year.
  • Anticipate that their capitalized number will rise throughout the course of the year
  • Capex budget for this year and next: still working on CoD budgeting for Ph3. Ex that, capex in 2Q will be in the $225MM range, and then $250MM in 3Q and around $400MM in 4Q
  • Mass hold rate:  the rising of the mass hold is due to the rising number of customers and the increased bet size of their customers. So they do think that the trend in the last 4 Q's is sustainable. 
  • Phenomonal margins in non-gaming? Sustainable going forward.
  • Think that in the Phillippines, the non-gaming amenities will be an even bigger contributor
  • Pre-opening expenses in Philipines- 2/3rd of their $1.9MM charge was related to the Phillipines. That pre-opening charge will increase throughout the year.
  • Working hard to close the gap between their margins at CoD and the competition. Do see continued favorable mix shift which should drive margins higher.  Their gaming revenues continue to approach those of Venetian.
  • Increased competition in the mass segment. Don't see any change in how much they need to reinvest in their mass segment to retain it. Some of their competitors have gotten more aggressive in pursuing the premium mass segment and some even provide rebate to them. They feel like this is the wrong strategy.
  • The increase in unique premium mass players to CoD has increased, but overall visitation is flat. 42,000 visitors per day at CoD over the last 2 months. 
  • Most of the piling work is substantially completed at MSC.  So they are now starting to come out of the ground. Approvals for labor have been very smooth. Have workers on site.
  • Think that the Phillipinnes will be a bigger market than most people expect. 
  • Minimum bet at CoD? They use a dynamic pricing strategy on the tables. They are forced to increase the min bets based on supply and demand. 
  • Update on Gongbei border expansion. Completed but on the Zhuhai side, they are still working on the expansion- should be completed by October. They are also excited about the expansion of border hours, in particular the Lotus Bridge border.
  • MSC spend in 1Q13: $40MM
  • Total 2013 MSC Capex spend: $800-1BN 
  • Altira: 141 VIP tables/ 32 Mass
  • CoD: 212 VIP and 240 Mass
  • Taiwan: they are cooperating with authorities. Maintain that they have done nothing wrong or different from their competitors
  • Walkway between CoD and SCC? Working with Sands China on coming up with a solution - waiting on their neighbor
  • ETG seats being added at CoD: Total 190 stations at the moment. the performance of the stations has been roughly 50% above the slot average. 
  • As of April, there should be a market wide wage rate increase of 5% in Macau



  • Net revenue of $1,145MM and Adjusted EBITDA of $273.5MM
  • The increase in net revenue was primarily attributable to higher group-wide rolling chip volumes and mass market gross gaming revenues, partially offset by a lower group-wide rolling chip win rate
  • The year-over-year increase in Adjusted EBITDA was attributable to strong improvements in mass market performance at City of Dreams, improved group-wide rolling chip volume and our continued focus on cost control, partially offset by a lower group-wide rolling chip win rate.
  • CoD: Net revenues of $836MM and Adjusted EBITDA of $247MM
    • The significant year-over-year improvement in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily a result of substantial growth in mass market table games volumes and improved mass market table games hold percentage together with strong growth in rolling chip volumes, partially offset by a lower rolling chip win rate
  • Altira: Net revenue of $265MM and Adjusted EBITDA of $40MM
    • The reduction in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily a result of a lower rolling chip win rate, partially offset by improved rolling chip volumes
  • The VIP segment in Macau has delivered robust growth in the first part of 2013 while the mass market table games segment remains on its impressive growth trajectory. We continue to be optimistic regarding the market's performance in 2013 and beyond, and expect the introduction of new infrastructure and policy initiatives over the short to medium term, as well as the expansion of Hengqin Island, will further support visitation growth and increasing spend per customer as Macau offers a more diverse offering of entertainment and leisure amenities.

  • Melco Crown Philippines, our majority owned subsidiary, recently completed a Top-Up Placement on the Philippines Stock Exchange raising approximately US$325 million in net proceeds, excluding the over-allotment option which, together with a shareholder loan commitment made by Melco Crown Entertainment, are expected to provide the funding necessary to open our unique integrated casino resort in Manila in mid-2014. The resort in Manila is expected to have approximately 967 rooms and suites, 242 gaming tables and approximately 1,450 gaming machines in addition to a range of entertainment and other non-gaming amenities to attract a wide variety of local and inbound customers.
  • MCP incurred ~$5MM of operating expenses, primarily relate to general and administrative expenses, land rental payments and other fees and costs associated with the corporate reorganization of MCP.
  • Non-operating expenses included:
    • US$61.4 million one-off charge associated with the extinguishment and modification of debt relating to the refinancing of our 10.25% senior notes.
    • Foreign exchange loss of US$4.4 million
    • US$4.1 million of capitalized interest... primarily relating to Studio City
  • Melco Crown Entertainment also incurred US$17.1 million of development costs, which predominantly relate to fees and costs associated with the corporate reorganization of MCP by the Company.
  • Cash: $2.5BN (including $1BN of restricted cash) and debt: $2.7BN
  • Capex: $79MM, primarily related to MSC and MCP and projects at CoD

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