"Our third quarter results reflect meaningful progress at IGT . Despite challenges in the broader marketplace, we continue to manage our business to increasing levels of efficiencies.  Our efforts have resulted in the generation of significant cash flow for reinvestment into the business in areas that create innovative and customer centric products and services."

- CEO Patti Hart. 



  • Gaming operations:
    • 58-61% guidance for 4Q2010 margins
    • $51.68 blended daily yield
    • $10-$15 on lower yielding units and international units to over $100 on mega jackpot units
    • 83% of install base's yields are based on variable fees
  • Reduced material costs and increase of non-machine products contributed to better gross margins for product sales
  • Product sales in NA:
    • Replacements: 3,200
    • Sequential decline was due to lower shipments to Canada partly offset by higher shipments to Washington
    • Non-machine revenue was up due to higher system revenue and the Dynamix package
    • ASP decline was due to the Dynamix package - since the conversion revenue is recognized in non-box revenue
    • 55% of shipments were MLD's
  • International product sales:
    • Benefiting from FX, MBS and higher Mexico sales
    • Higher gross margins due to higher mix of non-box sales and lower material costs
  • 50-52% margin guidance for product sales next quarter
  • Lower SG&A was due to lower professional fees, expect $85-90MM run rate in the 4Q. Bad debt was flat to the prior year quarter
  • R&D in the low $50MM range for 4Q
  • Total D&A was $59MM, decline was due to lower D&A on the domestic Mega Jackpots - expect it to remain flat in 4Q2010
  • The interest expense included a $4MM financing charge
  • Convert added $7MM of non-cash interest in the Q, non-cash interest of $30MM or $0.06 is estimated for FY2010
  • Tax rate excluding discrete items was 39%.  Expect 37-39% tax rate going forward
  • Had $1.2BN of R/C capacity, $270MM O/S balance
  • For debt covenants, their bank leverage ratio was 2.5x at June 30, 2010
  • Their converts and warrants weren't dilutive to their share count this quarter
  • Generated $192MM of FCF YTD
  • $61MM of capex this quarter  and is expected to trend at $60-65MM in the 4th Q
  • Generation of FCF remains their highest priority
  • Focusing more of their engineering efforts on application developments in their SB effort - have 14 properties with SB products
  • Strategic product initiatives
    • Gaming yields increased 1% sequentially
    • Stand alone jackpot yields up 2% sequentially
    • Sex in the City: 1,300 units installed
    • Amazing Race, Top Dollar and Super Nova Blast now have 790, 391, and 362 units deployed, respectively
    • Top 4 games (mentioned above) backlog: 1,202 games
    • 3337 game backlog for mega jackpot
    • Dynamix package - Sold 6,300 units
    • Cosmopolitan agreement: will sell them the majority of their for sales games, SB system
    • They are in various conversions on 10 SB system opportunity customers internationally
  • Ohio Lottery commission is seeking a court judgment affirming the commission's authority to install slots at racetracks
  • Illinois: implementation of the VLT program is proceeding with the awarding of the central monitoring system contract and the adoption of administrative rules. Licensing process has started.  Chicago (could be 15k machines) is still waiting to pass the necessary city council resolution to opt into the program.  Expect first shipments in early 2011.
  • MA:  Should know by July 31
  • Canada:  VLT replacement process moving slowly.  Expect the majority of the games to come online in 2012.  Of the 34,000 games in Canada, estimate 20-25k could be replaced over the next 2-3 years.
  • Italy: expect first approval for their installations in September with their first shipments in early 2011 (March)
  • Brazil:  think that the proposal can resurface next year
  • Greece:  Expect that within 1 month a proposal for VLT legislation will be submitted and final legislation by the end of this year.  Potential operational date in late 2011.  Potential for 50k VLTs & upfront license fee of Euro 10k
  • Guidance: Cautiously optimistic about customer spending levels.  Few factors might impact their 4Q results (replacement demand, interest rates, and revenue recognition accounting) range: $0.82-$0.85 guidance for 2010


  • Sustainability of cost cuts?
    • Most should be sustainable
  • NA non-box sales were very high and driven by:
    • Dynamix free conversions got allocated at fair value to non-box sales vs. ASP on game sales
    • Higher systems sales
  • How does the backlog influence the total install base?
    • 2 for 1? No, that would be aggressive.  Their goal is to replace lower yielding games with new fresh product. Goal is to maintain floor share.
  • What are their customers waiting for to order replacements?
    • A lot of their customers are waiting to see what their competition does
    • Improvement in the general environment
  • Guidance implies a $0.16-$0.19 cent quarter for 4Q? Why so low?
    • Cosmo - unclear when they can recognize that revenue given that they are supplying the system
    • Aria: revenue recognition is dependent on when they deliver some software
    • Interest rate risk for Jackpot expense
    • Harder to predict revenue recognition for non box business and that has been a driver for them
  • How are sales trending now that the Dynamix package has expired?
    • General sense that they have is that there were just less replacements in June vs. March which benefited from a large Canadian order
    • No real comment there on the post Dynamix trends
  • Early 2011 reference for Italy - meant March 2011 Q
  • 50% of the new units shipped came from 3 properties


In preparation for the LVS Q2 earnings release on July 28th, we’ve put together the pertinent forward looking commentary from LVS’s Q1 earnings release/call and subsequent conferences.





General Comments:

  • “Sheldon made a comment about a $3 billion target of EBITDA for next year. But if you’re looking at dividing those numbers, for all practical purposes, they divide about 1.3 billion for Macau, 1.25 billion for Singapore, and about 450 for Las Vegas and Bethlehem…. That 1.3 billion in Macau allows for a couple of months of opening of Phase 1 of 5 and 6 for Shangri-La and Sheraton, and we’ve had those conversations this morning and talked about those numbers. It’s a goal for us. It’s not a forecast. It’s not a guidance number.”
  • “If you look at 2006 when we opened the Sands Hotel in Macau, we had 45% of our EBITDA from the U.S., 55% in Asia, and now in 2009, you see 25/75 and the future of LVS, as we sit today, 17% in the U.S. and 83% in Asia, and if Singapore does what we expect it to do, it will probably be 15 and 85.”
  • “If we do anything in Japan or Vietnam or Korea or India, whatever the areas that have potential for integrated reserve, whether we do one or more, his expectation is that Sands China would be a joint venture partner in that. And we would use some of their cash in terms of that joint venture.”
  • “There is always a possibility of paying a dividend out of Macau if we want to pay a dividend. We’re 71% shareholder, which would benefit the other 29% shareholders as well. And there are some tax-efficient ways of doing that.”
  • “And if, eventually, which we think in ‘12, the malls might sell, then we’d have more cash. So, we could be debt-free there or pay down a lot of the debt – we’ve now got about 4.3 of debt. So, there’s plenty of debt that could be paid down in that environment.”

Las Vegas and PA:

  •  “In the MICE environment in Las Vegas, we’re moving forward; booking trends are healthy…. Pricing remains below historic levels on the group side, and pricing is recovering on the transient or weekend leisure side and we’ve experienced that in the last few months and continue to experience that as we book forward.”
  • “Our head count in Las Vegas in 2007 was 8,000 FTEs. We now operate today at about 6,500; it’s actually a little lower than that. So, the operating leverage for the future, and the operating leverage that we’re already seeing this year, compared to last or the year before, is pretty significant.”
  •  “Our running rate now is about $4 million a month of EBITDA.”


  • [From shareholder meeting] “Sands China … could generate between $1.0 and $1.2 billion in adjusted EBITDA in the year ended December 31, 2010.”
  • “We also took a long time to open our 19 Paiza mansions, which are now open and doing well, and our EBITDA, which are very small numbers, obviously, compared to the rest of the facilities, went from$ 4 to $19 million—a pretty good size improvement in the first quarter. That improvement also continues as we speak in the second quarter of this year.”
  • [Four Seasons Apartments timing- comment made in June 2010] “We’ve cleared all the legal hurdles for that signature. And he’s [CEO] new; he’s 6 months in the job and probably making a decision, hopefully, sometime in the next 3 or 4 months. We’re all ready to sell those apartments, and you should know that whatever we get for those apartments, 75% of the dollars will pay down debt in the Macau facility.”
  • [Four Seasons Apartments] “And 50 out of the 60 wanted to buy at a rate of between 1700 to 1900 U.S. per square foot. I know that’s tough for a lot of people to believe, but that’s the way it is.”
  • [Sites 5 & 6] “We will open Phase I on or about the last, the third quarter of 2011, and we will open the rest of Phase I and Phase II by the end of the year 2011 or in January of 2012…. We’ve started construction. There’s been a lot in the papers about whether or not we’ll have enough labor, foreign labor. But since we’re not employing the laborers directly, except perhaps for the Macanese, the laborers are being brought in by the contractors and subcontractors. So they’re responsible for getting the labor. And based upon our  recent discussions within the last week, we think we’ll have enough labor to finish it.”
  • “Based upon our experience there, I see that the one thing that has affected the visitation, particularly at the high end, was the financial downfall in Shanghai. So as the Shanghai market takes another depressing-type fall, like we had from 2008 to 2009, or at the end of the six months straddling ‘08 and ‘09, then I think it’ll see some effect or some diminution. But it wasn’t a 50% diminution in profit. It was 8%, 10%, 12%. 17%, I think that was the highest number. It’s not as though everything is going to hell in a hand-basket. It’s just that it might have some effect. It will have some effect, the drop in the market, because a lot of people, no matter who they are, are betting on the market. And so the Asians got in the market, particularly the Chinese. But I don’t think, being there now for eight or nine years in that part of the world, the average gambler is affected by the macroeconomics of China.”


  • “Singapore in my opinion -- it’s only my opinion; I don’t have to file an 8-K. I think, based upon the earnings and the multiple that will get us there will be worth between 15 and $20 billion alone, maybe more.”
  • “On June 23, the SkyPark, we have a facility you see on top of the building, will open, and the observation deck will open. There’s also a restaurant and nightclub and a concierge lounge on that deck. They will not open until the fall. The museum and the theaters will open in the fall, and the rest of the shopping center, which has 40 stores opened out of 320 that are leased, the rest of those stores, 40 more, will open by June 23 and the rest will open through the remainder of the year. The Crystal Pavilion will be down in the front and if you’re looking at it right about in the center will be a Louis Vuitton store. It will open probably in next winter, February or March. I want to emphasize to all of you that every one of these areas that open is high-margin profitability for Marina Bay Sands.”
  • [Singapore] “We don’t really think there’s going to be a commission war there. We raised our commission levels. We’re still below the Genting level of commission… We don’t seem to have any indication that they’re going to go up from here at all.”
  • [VIP/Mass Mix] “But in terms of net bottom line, I’d say it looks like 65/35, 60/40, something like that.”
  • “We are at about 7,500 today. We’ll probably go to 8,400 as we open the rest of the resort, and there’ll be more that are not exactly on a payroll. There’ll be about 15,000 employees there with everything that’s going on, but only about 8,400 would be ours.” 
  • “The major expense structures of Singapore are the transportation costs, logistic costs and security costs. Those costs are going to be what we’re running today—we don’t expect to go up. So, when you eventually see the first quarter on a monthly basis, you’ll see a pretty solid running rate. I don’t expect much reduction from that; you’ll be able to see the running rate. In spite of that in the first month of operation, we had a pretty decent EBITDA margin, based on everything together. On our expectations for EBITDA margins in Singapore on maturity, we’d be disappointed if we’re not over 40%.”
  • “I would suspect that during the ramp-up period, we will have probably 70 to 80% of the income in the casino and the rest in non-gaming activities”
  • “I will tell you that my original estimates of the gross profit margin from the casino, departmental margin are accurate and that we can make 58, 60% gross profit margin after taxes, after all the departmental expenses, contribution to EBITDA—before the unattributed expenses like building operations and things like that. The EBITDA number percentage will be the highest percentage that any casino has ever experienced, at least in our universe.”
  • [Sheldon on commissions] “So they’re afraid that I’ll leapfrog over them, which I will. So if they don’t want to come – I told one of the representatives, I said, if you raise your price, I’ll raise you. If you raise me again, I’ll leap over you. If you raise me again, I’ll go further over you. We’re heading for mutually assured destruction unless we agree upon a rate that the government will embed in the law. Neither you nor I can break that. And they just don’t want to do it. Now that they’ve gotten a couple of months under their belt, I think they’ve already waved the white flag and they’re ready to sit down with us because, as I’ve said, I’m not very aggressive—I just get it from my kid. But I will – you know I hate losing more than I love winning. So I will get – I mean I’ll just go right to the top. I’ll just give away the whole 2.85 until we win over all the business and then we’ll back it off if we have to.”
  • [Commissions] Q: “Is it fair to say that Singapore market level right now is higher than Macau?”
    • A: “Yeah.”




Las Vegas:

  • “Looking forward, we expect to realize more group rooms in 2010 than we realized in 2009. If the pace of group business bookings continues to improve, 2011 should be stronger than ‘10.”
  • [On rates] “I think we’ve been averaging on weekends between $240 and $260….For 2011 group rates, we’re trying to stay above 200 bucks. In some groups, we are getting higher than that. I can’t tell you that we are there yet. We have some business with lag that goes back six to eight months.”


  • “Our expectation and our lenders know that we will open with enough tables in five and six to justify the numbers that we projected in the loan documents (400 tables and 2200 slots). That will involve moving some tables from some of our facilities, as well as the additions of some electronic games…. I believe the number is approximately 170 tables that we’re going to move that either are not being used right now or that are  the marginal games that are being used at lower rates. We’re adding 100 electronic table games, which offer some very good potential. We’re going to try different electronic table games. We’re also assured by the government that we will have the 270 extra games that we originally put in our plans in 2013.”


  •  “We do give away from 0.75% to 1.0% to the players direct, so far at the high end.”
  • [On slot win per slot per day] “I’ll give you a range, from $400 to $900 per unit per day. I think we’ll have a somewhat higher average when we bring in those electronic table roulette games.”
  • [On customer mix] “33% to 40%, maybe at the most, are Singaporeans.”
  •  “We are at 70 out of 139 VIP tables, 442 out of 559 mass tables, and 1450 out of 1,642 slots.”


After the 30 bp falloff in two-year average same-store sales trends in the first quarter and the reported -4.7% comp in April, I was not expecting too much this quarter and neither was the street.  BWLD, however, surprised to the upside with earnings coming in at $0.50 per share versus the street’s $0.42 per share estimate and company-owned same-store sales growth was down 0.1% relative to the -2.5% street estimate.  Despite the better-than-expected numbers, company-owned same-store sales slowed nearly 200 bps on a two-year average basis from the prior quarter.  Management reported that comps are running positive in July, up 2.2%.  For reference, the company is lapping a +1.2% number from the same period last year, which implies a slight uptick in two-year trends since the end of the quarter.


Going into the quarter, I said that BWLD could potentially move into the “deep hole” (negative same-store sales and declining restaurant level margin) quadrant of the sigma chart shown below if same-store sales trends did not materially improve throughout the remainder of the quarter.  Comps, did in fact, improve after decelerating about 420 bps on 2-year average basis in April from 1Q10.  Restaurant level margin also came in better than I expected, up 120 bps to 18.1%, with food costs as a percentage of sales declining nearly 200 bps, more than I was modeling (lower YOY chicken wing prices for the first time in six quarters).  As a result, BWLD moved from the “trouble brewing” (positive same-store sales and declining restaurant level margin) quadrant to the “life line” (negative same-store sales and growing restaurant level margin) quadrant.  And, given that same-stores sales were just barely negative, the company was operating quite close to “nirvana” (positive same-store sales and growing restaurant level margin).


We will see what the company has to say on its earnings call, but despite the better-than-expected quarterly results, I continue to believe the company is growing too fast and that growth related costs will become more evident as same-store sales remain under pressure.  BWLD needs to slow growth and cut costs and that does not yet appear to be in the plans. 


Relative to the company’s earnings guidance, BWLD’s press release stated, “We have growing confidence that our 20% annual net earnings growth goal is achievable given the recent improvement in same-store sales and the moderation of wing costs."  This compares to last quarter when the company said 20% earnings growth may be achievable but an improvement in same-store sales and moderate wing costs were key to this goal.  So, there seems to be a real shift in management’s level of confidence.




Howard Penney

Managing Director


You wouldn’t know it by looking at the market recently, but consumers are not feeling very positive.


Once again we are seeing a major plunge in Consumer Confidence, which came in at 50.4, below expectations of 51.0, and down 7.1% from a revised (upward) prior reading of 54.3 (previously 52.9).

It has been a relatively strong earnings season for the restaurant companies to date and with the huge reported calendar 2Q10 comps by SBUX, CMG and DPZ, it is difficult to get a feel for current trends.  The management teams of these companies seem confident that current momentum is sustainable; though many restaurant companies are pointing to the current economic environment as reason to be cautious. 


Specifically, CMG said, “Our comps held up well throughout the quarter and into July so far; though we do remain concerned about recent reports of softening consumer confidence and the outlook for the economy. While we feel good about the strong customer loyalty our managers and crew have built over the years, we saw over the past few years, that economic concerns will affect how often our customers will visit Chipotle.”


To that end, today, we are seeing a major plunge in Consumer Confidence, which came in at 50.4, below expectations of 51.0, and down 7.1% from a revised (upward) prior reading of 54.3 (previously 52.9).  The Present Situation Index decreased to 26.1 from 26.8 and the Expectations Index declined to 66.6 from 72.7 last month.


Consumer attitudes are also being expressed in current sales trends.  According to Johnson Redbook, U.S. same store sales fell 0.7% month-to-date for the week ending July 24 (compared to the previous month); the seventh consecutive weekly decline in sales.  And, casual dining trends, as measured by Malcolm Knapp, have been slowing on a two-year average basis since April.


Today’s confidence reading is more indicative of where we are heading than today’s Case/Shiller home price data. 


As expected, home prices rose predictably in May and will rise again in June before heading lower in 2H10.  As our Financials analyst Josh Steiner noted in his Housing Black Book, May prices reflect March contract activity which was strong due to the April tax credit expiration.   


Pick your poison as to why you think confidence is going down, but I’m now focused on the incompetence of the people in Washington.  Washington is the epicenter of everything consumer - unemployment benefits, policies that enable job growth and a federal reserve that won’t pay the aging population an interest rate on its savings accounts.  The issues in Washington are impacting the whole country and individual states are also beginning to make significant cutbacks.


Nothing is getting done. 


The precipitous drop in confidence in Washington among the electorate has been shaped largely by the harsh economic reality facing many consumers today.  The approval rating of the president among 18-34 year olds is but one example.  Among 18-34 year olds polled by Quinnipiac University in November 2008, 73% viewed Obama favorably.   Last week, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University revealed that only 46% of 18-34 year olds viewed Obama favorably (with 42% holding an unfavorable opinion). Additionally, 37% of the same demographic would vote for a generic Republican in a presidential election versus 34% for Obama.  No age group has a tougher time finding a job at the moment than teenagers and young adults in their twenties (a key demographic for QSR).  In turn this is putting incremental pressure on their parents…..  A vicious cycle for sure!


The earnings season has been strong and as expected the corporate story telling is alive and well.  We are setting up for what could be a very interesting 3Q10 preannouncement season.


NO FREE LUNCH FOR CONSUMERS - conf board cons conf


Howard Penney

Managing Director


Chinese Loans . . . A Crisis of Rumors

Conclusion: Reports out of China concerning the potential for a high degree of non-performing loans used to finance local government infrastructure projects appear alarmist and should not be given substantial credence at this time, which is confirmed by the CDS and equity markets.


In the past few days, there has been a great deal of news flow coming out of China regarding the potential for local government financing vehicles to struggle to service 23% of the 7.7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) of outstanding loans which had been lent to finance local government infrastructure projects (highways, airports, etc.) – according to a person with knowledge of data collected by the nation’s regulator. With supposed at-risk debt near $261 billion (nearly five times the amount ($53.5 bil.) the nation’s five largest banks are raising to replenish capital) there is concern that the government may need to accelerate efforts to shore up its banks.


What cannot be overlooked here, however, is that Chinese government bailouts have helped bring the industry’s non-performing loan (NPL) ratio to 1.3% by the end of June – down 28bps since the end of 2009. Efforts to mitigate any potential buildup in NPL’s brought on by last year’s $1.4 trillion of credit expansion have been particularly successful (slowing loan growth, raising capital requirements, etc.). The Chinese government targeted a maximum of 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) of new loans this year – down from last year’s record 9.59 trillion yuan of credit expansion – and the central bank recently affirmed that, at the current pace of lending (which has decelerated each month since April), that goal will be met. Furthermore, last month, the China ordered its local governments to ensure repayment, concentrate on completing projects already under way, and stop spending within financing units that rely solely on the fiscal income of local governments. We expect these efforts to achieve a similar desired effect as the curbs on the Chinese banking system at large.


Chinese Loans . . . A Crisis of Rumors - 1


Still, any rapid expansion in credit always brings about a repayment risk, particularly when confounded by the complexity of China’s local government financing. Because of their inability to directly borrow money, local government set up financing vehicles to fund projects. These vehicles issue bonds in China’s exchange traded and interbank markets, which are then bought by commercial banks, asset managers, securities firms and other institutional investors – based largely on false pretenses, at least according to Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. They claim that because most companies can’t issue junk bonds, they have to be rated at least AA to apply for debt issuance, which causes local government-backed borrowers to “shop around” for the best rankings, giving business to whomever gives them the highest rating (sounds familiar? See: U.S. MBS market 2005-2008). According to China Lianhe Credit Rating Co., 43 construction companies affiliated with such financing vehicles issued 72 corporate bonds totaling 59.2 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) in 1H10. Of that total, 70 were rated AA or above.


Potentially faulty ratings, coupled with the repacking of such loans into investment products and shifting off-balance sheet by Chinese banks, does indeed mask the repayment risk of such ventures. Currently, China has more than 1,000 county-level governments and hundreds of city and municipal councils that get revenue from local taxes, land sales, and central-government transfers. Of those three, revenues from slumping land sales brought on by China’s efforts to cool its property market is most at risk.


When it’s all said and done, servicing loans has always been about the generation of aggregate cash flow – which is precisely why we like the health of China’s banking industry a great deal more than the its U.S. and European counterparts. In China, you have a consumer whose purchasing power is growing (wage inflation, currency strengthening) and has a history of thrift brought on by decades of minimal social services; that same thrift allows China’s banks to keep mortgage down payments north of 40-50%. Contrast that with the Western consumer, whose purchasing power is eroding due to austerity measures and currency debasement, is mired in stagnating-to-worsening high unemployment, and is in the early stages of a secular deleveraging.  Moreover, China, on an aggregate level, has the ability to grow into its ability to service loans.


All told, let’s just say that if China’s banking system is in a precarious scenario based on these recent reports of potential non-performing loans, domestically speaking, we better start heading for the hills.


Darius Dale



Chinese Loans . . . A Crisis of Rumors - China


Domino’s U.S. comp sales growth came in slightly below the street’s expectations with company-owned same-store sales growth up 8.3% but management’s tone continues to be extremely positive.  Management did not provide any color on quarter-to-date trends, but repeatedly commented that it thinks the current momentum behind its new and inspired pizza product is sustainable.  Specifically, management said, “We really like where we are….We are performing better than most or all within the pizza category.”


Even with same-store sales growth up over 8%, both one-year and 2-year average trends slowed rather significantly from the first quarter when the comp was up 14.7%.  This sequential slowdown spurred a lot of questions and concern on the earnings call about the sustainability of top-line trends.  Management defended its recent performance by pointing out that the new pizza is not a promotion and is driving significant repeat visits with the majority of the sales growth in 2Q10 driven by repeat customers and increased frequency relative to the heavy trial period during the first quarter. 


Relative to guidance, management stated that its full-year 2010 results should come in better than its stated long-term outlook on a lot of fronts, driven by a higher than typical range of comp growth in the U.S.


Pressure in 2H10:


Management reiterated its outlook for cheese prices to be in the $1.50 to $1.70/lb range in the back half of the year.  Although cheese prices remained below this level in the first half of the year, cheese is currently at $1.60/lb.  Management also stated on the call that for every $0.40 move in the price of a block of cheese, there is a 100 bp impact on food costs at the store level.  Relative to the recent move in wheat prices, DPZ locked in on all of its wheat needs through the first quarter of 2011. 


Foreign currency benefited earnings by about $0.02 per share in 1Q10 and a penny in 2Q10 but management expects this trend to reverse in 2H10 with currency hurting by a penny or two during the fourth quarter.




Howard Penney

Managing Director


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