LEISURE LETTER (01/12/2015)

01/12/15 10:47AM EST

tickers: mpel, nclh, htht


MPEL CEO Ho comments 

  • "No idea" how many tables Studio City will receive. 
    • Property had been designed for 500 tables, and the firm “hoped” to get as many as 400 early in the resort’s operation
  • Confirmed Studio City's all-in cost (including pre-funded interest) at US$3.2 bn and remain on track to open mid-2015. 
    • Planned attractions – including a collaboration between Hollywood studio Warner Bros and American comic book publisher DC Comics for a virtual reality ride called ‘Batman Dark Flight’, plus a 130-metre (427-feet) high ferris wheel to be called ‘Golden Eye’ and said to be Asia’s tallest – would help Macau to “diversify” its offer to tourists.
    • 5,000-seat ‘Studio City Entertainment Center’, a fully-operational television broadcast studio called Studio 8, and a nightclub under the Pacha branding made famous in Ibiza, Spain. There will also be a 300,000-square foot (27,870-sq metre) themed shopping mall.
  • Studio City strong premium mass focused because of its location near the Lotus Bridge crossing point linking Cotai to neighboring Hengqin Island
  • Reasons for MPEL HK delisting were purely administrative, and said the company had no plans currently for any fresh listing anywhere else to raise capital for any other schemes that it might pursue
  • Asked if the Macau gaming downturn meant the company might be laying off staff, Ho said no, adding the firm was planning to hire “8,000 to 10,000” extra staff for Studio City
  • Other development projects: “There are still development opportunities in Macau… After we’re done with phase one, there’s still phase two. We’ve only built on two thirds of the [Studio City] site. Of course we’re going to have to get the concurrence and support of the minority shareholders [for further development] – who have been great throughout this [initial] process. It’s going to be a very big equity cheque to write [for another phase]. So I don’t know if they are ready at this present moment in time.... But in terms of other jurisdictions…to be honest there are no jurisdictions as good as Macau.”

Article HERE

Takeaway: We think there is risk Studio City may only be allocated 150-250 tables.


NCLH – Kevin Sheehan has left NCL as CEO and is quickly replaced by Prestige CEO Frank Del Rio.

Takeaway:  This was solely a personal decision by Sheehan with no influence from Apollo or the Prestige integration.

China Lodging Group (HTHT) – announced prelim Q4 2014 results

  • REVPAR (blended) CNY153 vs CNY 160 
  • Like-for-like performance for 1,178 leased and manachised hotels opened for at least 18 months during the current quarter:
    • Occupancy rate 90% vs year-ago 93%
    • Average daily room rate CNY179 vs year-ago CNY179
    • RevPAR CNY161 vs year-ago CNY165 

Takeaway: Weak REVPAR from low end segment in China


Anti-graft – 

  • The Communist Party’s anti-graft agency begins its three-day plenum today with analysts saying that the crackdown on political factions and corruption in local governments is likely to be the top priority this year.

Article HERE

  • A compilation of select remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping on the fight against corruption and the construction of a clean Communist Party of China (CPC) has been published.  The book was published by the Central Party Literature Press and the China Fangzheng Publishing House.

Article HERE

Philippines – A joint venture partner in two of Manila’s new private-sector casinos says the Philippines gaming industry is not being hit by the kind of slowdown seen in Macau. Andrew Tan, chairman and CEO Alliance Global Group Inc said, “In Macau, the slowdown is because the big chunk of their market is ultra-high rollers. We don’t have that segment of the market here. That ultra-high roller market is thinning out [in Macau] that’s why their growth has been slow last year but in the Philippines, we have a very different situation because our market here are more on the tourist side.”

Article HERE

Takeaway: Tan is justifying the rise in GGR last year in the Philippines

Unpaid leave – two casino operators have allegedly offered employees unpaid leave for as long as one year. According to a casino workers’ union affiliated with the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FOAM), the proposal received an enthusiastic response from the workers, as it has been difficult for them to apply for leave in the past.

Article HERE

Takeaway: Political repercussions prevent layoffs

Southeastern Massachusetts casino license – 4 entrants

  • Massachusetts Gaming and Entertainment 
  • Seafan Trust under the name Sun Moon Resort
  • Somerset On The Move 
  • KG Urban

In addition, the Mashpee Wampanoag still intend to pursue a casino in Taunton.
They have until the 30th to make their non-refundable $400,000 deposit and must file site-specific plans by May 25.

Wyoming Lotto – CEO Clontz said the lottery has sold more than $6.5 million worth of tickets since it opened for business on Aug. 24.  This coming Friday, the lottery plans to unveil its first state-based game. And while he didn't want to give too many details away early, Clontz said the game will be similar to the state lotto games held in Colorado and elsewhere. Clontz said revenues would increase significantly if the lottery was to begin selling scratch cards - they are by far the main game that players have been asking for.

Article HERE

Takeaway: The 2013 law prohibits the sale of instant games due to addiction concerns. But will that end at some point?

Wave Season  – Cruise companies are opening 2015 with a raft of new TV ad campaigns seeking to take advantage of the upswing in consumer interest in cruise planning during Wave season.  The ads range from new variations on established themes at Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises to a first-ever TV campaign in the U.S. for MSC Cruises.  Another first will occur on Feb. 1 when Carnival Corp. unveils its commercial on TV’s most watched annual event, the NFL’s Super Bowl. 

Article HERE

Takeaway: Wave marketing dollars are likely to be higher in 2015

Venice  – The Veneto Region Administrative Tribunal has annulled an Italian Coast Guard decree on January 9 to ban cruise ships over 96,000gt from sailing through Venice’s Giudecca Channel and past St Mark’s Square to reach the city’s cruise terminal.  The decision is not likely to have an immediate impact on large ship transits since Cruise Lines International Association members have been voluntarily complying with these restrictions while awaiting a solution to the transit debate, which all the interested parties hope to have reached with the proposed Contorta Sant'Angelo Channel project.

‘We are expecting no cruise ships over 96,000gt this year, resulting in a predicted loss of just under 300,000 passengers," Sandro Trevisano, president of  Venice Passenger Terminal said. He added, ‘We are hoping this decision will induce the government to pass measures to support the return of cruise ships to Venice, however the Contorta Sant'Angelo Channel project would require 18 months for completion, putting our 2016 cruise business also at risk."

Article HERE


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. 

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