LEISURE LETTER (11/18/2014)

Tickers:  MGM, CHH, DRH, HST, CCL, NCLH, RCL

EVENTS

  • Nov 18: BEL Investor Meeting Webcast
  • Nov 18: BYI shareholder vote on SGMS merger
  • Nov 18: 1 pm Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to award second Philadelphia Casino license
  • Nov 19: Sega Sammy Investor Meetings
  • Nov 23: Pacquiao-Algieri bout at Venetian Cotai Arena

COMPANY NEWS

GENS:SP – Genting Singapore executing on a share repurchase program.  Over the past two days, the company repurchased 14 million shares for S$14.87 million.  Cumulative shares repurchased year-to-date = 21,584,000 and the maximum shares authorized for repurchase = 1,223,813,684.   Following today's 10 million share repurchase, the total shares outstanding = 12,225,510,702.

http://infopub.sgx.com/Apps?A=COW_CorpAnnouncement_Content&B=AnnouncementTodaySecurity&F=ZTQGEN19V0D0MUXS&H=33f49ea6312a75f099fd1466f255b245191bc2788c4e79b6d82cd8d64751a8a5#.VGsu3cmCuYs

Takeaway: When the prospects for new development fade (Japan) buy back stock. 

 

034230:KS & 6460.JP (Paradise and Sega Sammy) – WIth Japan's Diet unable to pass integrated resort legislation and a near-term pause in growth across Macau, gaming operators and investors are turning their attention to South Korea.

http://news.mk.co.kr/newsRead.php?no=1437035&year=2014

Takeaway: Not entirely an unexpected story since Sega Sammy in currently conducting investor meetings in New York.

 

MGM – late on Monday, paid Massachusetts the required $85 million gambling licensing fee for its $800 million Springfield resort casino and the 15 year operating license. 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/casinos-gaming/mgm-pays-85-million-bay-state-casino-license-fee

Takeaway: BlueTarp reDevelopment is now live, Springfield must now issue the building permits.

 

CHH– repurchased 1,043,509 shares of its common stock from Stewart Bainum, Jr., the Chairman of the board of the company at a purchase price per share of $51.95 per share. Following the transaction, Bainum remains the beneficial owner of over 12.6 million shares of Choice common stock, or approximately 22% of the outstanding common stock. As a result of this repurchase, approximately 20,000 shares remained available under the CHH’s share repurchase program

Takeaway: A very efficient share repurchase for CHH and likely a larger repurchase than modeled by analysts and investors.

 

DRH – agreed to sell the 1,004 room Los Angeles Airport Marriott for $160 million, or $159,360 per key to Sichuan Xinglida Group Enterprises, as a result of reverse inquiry.  SIchuan previously acquired the Torrance Marrioot from DRH in November 2013.  Diamondrock purchased the LAX Marriott acquired the Hotel in 2005 for $118 million and then renovated the property in 2006. The property sold at a 6.6% cap rate on last twelve month net operating income of ~$10.5 million.

Takeaway: A very good price for a large, airport centric upper-upscale hotel.  We continue to wonder why Starwood Hotels has not been more active.

 

HST – the media is reporting Host Hotels & Resorts with its partner, Vornado Realty Trust, the eight-story tall billboard recently installed on the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway, was leased by Google for November 24 until January 2015.  Reports indicated ads on the screen are being marketed for at least $2.5 million for four weeks. 

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-11-17/google-takes-times-square-crown-with-half-acre-billboard

Takeaway: With the revenue economics now disclosed, we look forward to details from HST management regarding the revenue sharing arrangement with Vornado.

 

CCL – announced the Company's first-ever multi-brand marketing campaign incorporating all nine of its leading global brands to drive increased awareness, consideration and demand for cruising as a great vacation option at an exceptional value.

http://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/11878-carnival-corporation-to-launch-first-ever-multi-brand-national-marketing-campaign.html

Takeaway:  This new marketing strategy to attract 1st time cruisers may result in lower corporate expenses.

 

CCL – unveiled details of its newest ship, Koningsdam, Holland America's biggest ship and the first in a new Pinnacle Class, scheduled for delivery in February 2016. Highlights of the 99,500-ton, 2,650-passenger ship include:  The Queen's Lounge, which has been expanded to include a second tier; a three-deck-high, skylight-capped atrium encapsulated in a stainless steel sculpture; new family cabins; and two outdoor swimming pools.

 

NCLH – Norwegian to re-create The Cavern Club with entertainment programs spanning Broadway to the birthplace of the Beatles aboard Epic with sailings from Barcelona.

http://www.seatrade-insider.com/news/news-headlines/norwegian-to-recreate-cavern-club-aboard-epic-in-europe.html

 

RCL – On the heels of a vessel sale to Ctrip earlier this year, Royal Caribbean Cruises continues to move toward an announcement with the Chinese travel company on a joint venture cruise lines.

http://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/11875.html

Takeaway: Our understanding is that RCL would like to partner with Ctrip on creating a lower-end mass product servicing China.

INDUSTRY NEWS

China Corruption Crackdown – In a crackdown named Operation Fox Hunt, China arrested 288 fugitives suspected of committing economic crimes as part of an aggressive anti-corruption effort aimed at individuals who have fled to 56 countries, including the United States, Canada, Spain, South Korea, and South Africa

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-11/18/content_18934780.htm

Takeaway: No end insight for the corruption crackdown.

 

Portugal's Minister of Internal Affairs Resigns Over Golden Visa Program – The “golden visa” program was launched in 2013 and fast tracks the visa process for citizens living outside of the Schengen space that invest a certain amount in Portugal for a period of no less than five years. Thus far, the two years of the program have seen a total of 1,649 visas awarded, the majority to Chinese citizens, and attracting in excess of €1 billion (USD1.25 billion) in investment, primarily going into the property market

http://macaudailytimes.com.mo/golden-visa-scandal-portugal-minister-steps-friends-caught-corruption-net.html

 

Macau Slow to Approval Building Reuse Plans – The government has approved only two of the 14 sets of plans it has received since April 2011 to turn industrial buildings into housing.

http://www.macaubusiness.com/news/building-conversion-efforts-produce-few-results.html

Takeaway: While the government pushes for gaming operators to provide worker housing, the government must also lend a hand in the approval process.

 

Delta Bridge Cost Estimates Rise – The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge project will cost taxpayers at least HK$3.3 billion more than its HK$83 billion budget. The whole bridge will cost some HK$132.9 billion, according to the bridge authority. The costs will be split between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland authorities. Hong Kong's contribution, including the new island, will come to HK$83 billion.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1632992/zhuhai-bridge-costs-set-soar-hk37-b?page=all

Takeaway: While cost go up, no announced delays to the 2016 opening. However, we wouldn't expect the bridge to open before 2017.

 

Clark County Taxi Trips Rise– Nevada Taxicab Authority disclosed October taxi trips were up 5.6% to 2.4 million passengers for the month compared with the same month a year earlier.  Revenue per shift also was up 2.9% to $294.04 for the month. For the first 10 months of 2014, taxi trips are up 4.7% to 23.7 million trips over last year.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/traffic-transportation/clark-county-taxi-trips-56-percent-agency-reports

Takeaway: Strong October visitation trends for the Las Vegas strip and locals gaming operators. 

 

Connecticut Gaming Expansion NOT Likley – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy indicated he won't play a "lead role" in any legislation to expand gaming to include a slots parlor near I-91 between Hartford and Springfield.  Malloy further suggested  the issue is a legislative matter, and he doesn't believe the topic has support in the state.

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-dannel-malloy-expanded-gaming-20141117-story.html

Takeaway: Mohegan's hope for a second property, now clearly less likely.

 

Graton Resort & Casino Land Challenge – Stop Graton Casino, a group opposed to the recently opened Graton Resort and Casino near Rohnert Park have opened up a new attack on the gambling mega-complex, asking the California Supreme Court to invalidate the Graton Indian tribe's claim over the land in that casino's 254 acres don't meet state and federal guidelines for Indian casino land because they weren't ancestral Graton territory and were instead given to the tribe by Station Casinos of Las Vegas.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Graton-Resort-and-Casino-attacked-again-over-land-5899527.php

Takeaway: Another Off-Reservation tribal gaming challenge and not likely to be successful.

 

Hotel Cancellation Fees Going Up, Following the Airline Model – Marriott and Hilton, announced they would increase their fee revenue by tightening rules on last-minute reservation cancellations, effective January 1, both companies say that if you don’t cancel your reservation by the day before your scheduled arrival, you’ll be charged a penalty of one night’s room rate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/business/marriott-and-hilton-announce-penalty-for-last-minute-cancellations.html?_r=0

Takeaway: With occupancy at record levels, hotels are trying to drive  additional high-margin revenues. Business travelers, who according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, represent about 40% of all hotel stays are traveling more and changing/cancelling their plans more as well.  We won't be surprised to see the hotel companies offer their their top tier loyalty program customers complimentary cancellation policies.

MACRO

China Foreign Direct Investment – Increased 1.2% for the month of October on a year-over-year basis.  On a year-to-date basis, January through October, FDI declined 1.2%

 

China October New Home Prices – declined 0.8% versus September and was a slight improvement versus the 1% decline in September versus August.  The year-over-year price decline was 2.4%. 

 

German ZEW Economic Sentiment Indicator for November was 11.0 versus consensus expectations of 4.3 and 4.1 during October.

 

Hedgeye Macro Team remains negative Europe, their bottom-up, qualitative analysis (Growth/Inflation/Policy framework) indicates that the Eurozone is setting up to enter the ugly Quad4 in Q4 (equating to growth decelerates and inflation decelerates) = Europe Slowing.

Takeaway:  European pricing has been a tailwind for CCL and RCL but a negative pivot here looks increasingly likely in 2015. Following CCL's F3Q 2014 earnings release, we recently turned negative on those stocks based on the negative European thesis. 

 

Hedgeye Macro Team remains negative on consumer spending and believes in muted inflation, a Quad4 set-up.  Following  a great call on rising housing prices, the Hedgeye Macro/Financials team is decidedly less positive. 

Takeaway:  We’ve found housing prices to be the single most significant factor in driving gaming revenues over the past 20 years in virtually all gaming markets across the US.

 



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