Tickers: CZR, LVS, PENN, GLPI, HLT, HOT, BEE
Today's Headline Story
Macau December GGR – December GGR totaled MOP22.607 (HK$ 23.285, US$ 2.9150 billion, -30.4% YoY.
Takeaway: December results were in line with our expectations
SJM- announced a 5% pay raise for all its employees, effective Jan 1. SJM announced internally that it would consolidate basic pay and tips, known as tea money, for the purposes of contributions to the provident fund. SJM also announced an increase in other perks enjoyed by staff. The Macau government has already announced a 6.8% pay rise for 2015 for public sector workers.
Takeaway: 5% may not be enough.
CZR – A consortium including a unit of CZR made a conditional deal to acquire the land for a casino project at Incheon, in South Korea, for just under US$95.9 million. The plot has an area of approximately 89,170 square meters. The grouping – known as LOCZ Korea Corp – is planning a multi-phase casino project on a site close to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport. The casino will serve foreigners. In October, Steven Tight, president international development for Caesars Entertainment, said the goal was to start construction on the project in July 2015.
GLPI & PENN – Hollywood Casino Columbus is adding an Asian noodle restaurant to diversify dining options and cater to a large base of Asian-American gamblers. Zen, as it'll be called, should open by the Chinese New Year on Feb. 19.
Takeaway: Should be additive.
PENN – Hollywood racino at Mahoning Valley in Ohio closed its inaugural meet with its best one-day handle yet of $1.103 million. That compares to the meet’s daily average of $614,716.
Takeaway: Decent performance from its racing business. The casino has averaged $7.8m in revenues the last two months.
GTECH - signed a 6-yr draw-based/instant-ticket system contract with Mexico's Pronosticos Para La Asistencia Publica for a minimum of 11,000 draw-based lottery terminals, a communications network, as well as additional lottery products and ongoing services. The contract is expected to commence in September 2015. GTECH expects to receive more than $130 million in revenues over the six-year period.
Takeaway: Another contract from a long-term GTECH customer
LVS – A company led by a Taiwan businessman, who argues that in 2001 he proposed being senior partner in a joint venture with Las Vegas Sands Corp to get a Macau gaming license, has voluntarily withdrawn a lawsuit on the issue previously filed on July 9 with the U.S. District Court in Nevada. The lawsuit against Las Vegas Sands was claiming intellectual ownership of as much as 72.5% of the US$20 billion-plus profits the plaintiff estimated the gaming operator has made in Macau since the award of its gaming rights there in 2002.
At a minimum, the suit from Asian American Entertainment Corp Ltd (AAECL), a Macau-registered company, asked for US$5 billion from Las Vegas Sands, with pre-judgement and post-judgement interest.
Takeaway: The end to another distracting litigation event - a welcomed relief for the senior management team who is focused on returning growth to the top-line.
242.HK – Shun Tak Holdings Ltd has indicated that the start of work on its Harbour Mile project may be delayed until 2017 at the earliest. The waterside project is meant to link One Central and the Macau Tower, both of which belong to Shun Tak, either in whole or part. Shun Tak indicated its purchase of land for the project was delayed two years until the end of next year, while the government makes up its mind about its urban master plan. The company intends to put housing, shops and a hotel on the land.
HLT – During Q4 2014 Hilton opened 53 new hotels, including 34 U.S. properties.
Takeaway: The 53 new openings was less than our modeled 75 new openings, it would appear many openings slipped to Q1 2015.
HOT – During Q4 2014, Starwood Hotels opened 32 new hotels, including 9 U.S. properties.
Takeaway: The 32 new openings was better than our forecast of 26 new opening during Q4 2014.
BEE – announced the company closed a $225 million limited recourse loan secured by the JW Marriott Essex House hotel originated by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The new financing replaces the $186 million financing previously encumbering the property. Under the terms of the loan agreement, the loan bears interest at a floating rate of LIBOR plus 295 basis points and has a three-year initial term with two, one-year extension options available to the venture upon satisfying certain financial and other conditions.
Macau Unemployment Remains Very Low & Gaming Related Jobs Increase – Nov unemployment remained steady at 1.7%. The number working in gaming rose by 1.6% to 85,900 and the number working in construction rose by 1.9% to 56,800.
Takeaway: Despite falling gaming revenues, gaming related employment increased during November.
Macau Property Values Drop in November – The average price of housing in Macau fell to MOP91,731 (US$11,483) per square meter in November, 13.7% less than the month before. The Financial Services Bureau data indicated the decrease was due to the average prices of homes on the peninsula and Coloane decreasing. The average price of homes on Taipa increased.
Takeaway: Given the slowdown in gaming revenue, we believe Macau will experience additional property value declines.
Sochi Russia Gaming – Sochi mayor Anatoliy Pakhomov has said that the Sochi gambling zone will open its doors in May 2015. He also expressed confidence that an open sky regime coupled with a possible 72-hour visa-free transit and the zone's location in Krasnaya Polyana will attract more tourists to Sochi.
Takeaway: While the gaming zone will be open, thus far there's been no discussion of which gaming operators hope to open casinos in Sochi or if the casinos will be government run.
Ukraine Approves Casinos & Online Gaming – Ukraine will allow casinos and online gambling under a new austerity budget passed to help the government raise capital. The budget, which shrinks social spending and will boost the price of imports, is designed to reduce Ukraine’s budget deficit to 3.7% and spur growth in 2016. Ukraine banned gambling in 2009.
Washington slots - Twenty seven of Washington’s 29 Indian tribes have agreed to new gaming compacts that allow more slot machines. Casinos will be allowed 1,075 gaming machines, up from 975.
Takeaway: More slot sales for Washington
China December PMI – The final reading of the Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was 49.6 during December down from 50 in November, and compared with the Dec. 16 reading of 49.5.
Singapore GDP Slowed in 2014 – Singapore’s economic growth cooled in 2014 and the nation will experience slower expansion than it’s used to, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. Gross domestic product rose 2.8% this year, Lee, 62, said in his New Year message. That compares with a November forecast of about 3%, and an expansion of 3.9% in 2013.
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.