PENN “YOUTUBE” FROM FQ1

Please see our 4/16 earnings preview for commentary on PENN’s upcoming quarter.  Below we highlight the important forward looking commentary from PENN’s FQ1 earnings release and conference call.

 

 

OUTLOOK & TRENDS

  • “Looking forward, as you can see from our guidance, we don’t see a whole lot of reason for enthusiasm in 2010.” 
  • “What we’ve done is done a lot of internal trend analysis for lack of a better description of it, which is indicating to us that the rate of decline is slowing. But rate of decline is slowing is not good news.  What that just means is it’s getting bad, it’s just getting bad slower, and we’re not on the breakneck pace to zero that we were before.” 
  • “If you take out both Penn National and Joliet, which we’re doing for internal purposes…January’s numbers – revenue numbers were down 5.3%. Now the good – if there is good… we were behind our own internal forecast up until the last weekend of the month, and then we came roaring back”
  • “Joliet, as you know, we’re operating with just the casino right now, and we don’t have much to sell there. And the competitive environment has increased in the fourth quarter. Now, labor is being managed well. We still have opportunities to be more efficient with our marketing spend there. We did open in the beginning of this week our new parking garage there. So I fully expect we’re going to see margin improvement in Joliet from what you saw in the fourth quarter”
  • “We continue to see more softness than anywhere in Southern Mississippi and Southern Louisiana.  And specifically, in Bay St. Louis, the promotional spending in that market, driven by our chief competitor in Gulfport, is deteriorating all of our margins and we’re trying to continue to find ways to protect our share, but not overspend to protect that share.”
  • “Tunica, it was a little bit different. We’ve been improving margins there. We had some unusual adjustments that negatively affected the fourth quarter in excess of $1 million of adjustments for inventory, bonus and severance, some repairs we made to the building and some increased healthcare costs. I do think those were one-time occurrences in Tunica and I don’t expect that to be a recurring theme. The promotional environment in Tunica is not like it is in Southern Mississippi.”  
  • “Charles Town, that’s one where we’re seeing some softness. We did have some weather effect in December, but even through the entire quarter, we still saw softness there in the market. And it’s an opportunity we continue to look at to improve our efficiency of our marketing spend. Again, labor is being managed well. We did see in line performance in the month of January in Charles Town, but again, we’re trying to get the right mix given the introduction of tax free promotional credits in that market to make sure that it’s as efficient use of those marketing dollars as it possibly can be and that’s the theme for Charles Town as we get into 2010 as well”
  • Answer to the impact of table games on property margins in Charles Town:  “That table tax rate is going to be 35%. So I don’t think it’s going to be enhancing our margins in Charles Town given the labor component there. I think, net-net we’re probably in the 27, 28%  area”
  • “Typically what we see across our properties are roughly 15%, table games are roughly 15% a slot, in mature markets where they both been existing sort of similar period of time. Obviously at Charles Town, what we’re expecting is that it will take some time to ramp to that level.”
  • “With the good weather and not much on TV to occupy people’s time on weekends, we continue to see reasonably good growth from our capital investment at Lawrenceburg, 8 to 9% in the fourth quarter and we had record attendance levels on Saturday.”
  • “I think the reality is this, you’ve extracted the easy stuff. The low hanging fruit has been pulled out of our cost structure. And I think as we go forward, we’re going to struggle to keep or to  basically reduce cost commensurate with revenue declines that we’re starting to get to the point where this is not as effective as we’ve been – of being able to match the revenue declines with operating cost declines.”
  • “They’re just gambling at lower threshold and you see it too and how they are playing the slot products. You see a continued trend to play the low denomination slots.”
  •  “What we’ve got for a corporate overhead number next year is around 69 million. Obviously, we continue to expect it doesn’t really have any significant amounts for lobbying. I mean there are certain amounts that we recognize we’d be spending. But it’s certainly much reduced than the current levels. The other items I mean obviously – we don’t have table games in here, because quite candidly, we don’t really have a good date for when we think it will be up and running. And the state regulatory process in Pennsylvania historically has proven to be incredibly lengthy.”
    • “So and those 69 million could be ratably throughout, let’s say, 70 million split fairly evenly throughout the year? That’s our expectation”
    • From 4/15/2010 Telsey  Conference: “I would point out that in the corporate overhead number, there’s probably – there’s almost $24 million worth of Ohio referendum costs associated with our efforts last year in Ohio.”

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