Caesars Entertainment's CEO Presents at Citi 2012 North American Credit Conference (Transcript)

| About: Caesars Entertainment (CZR)
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Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) Citi North American Conference November 14, 2012 11:45 PM ET


Jacqueline Beato


Jacqueline Beato

Good morning. Thank you all for joining me today to learn a little bit about Caesars and I’m sure some of you, you know, know some of this information, but hopefully I can provide some new insight particularly in the Q&A portion.

So, start off, talking about a little bit of what we think our key specifics as in our industry, so, you know, distribution of compelling brands which, you know, our portfolio brand is quite expensive in the gaming industry. Distribution channels through various methods, so we have definition, regional and online distribution channels.

And then of course an extending base of customers that we are rewarded for their loyalty to our brand and continues to grow. So, if you look at Caesars there’s a snapshot by the number, we’re number one or two market share in almost every market, we have over a 100 million annual visitors, 45 million total rewards members and our last 12 months EBITDA is about $2 million.

So really the Caesars is the most diversified gaming company here in the U.S, we have a lot of different revenue streams, we think we have a superior business model driven by our total rewards database, which we think as industry leading. We have one of the most visible intangible development pipeline in the industry right now, there’s a lot of, a lot of the part benefiting a lot from this regional expansion trained in the U.S.

We have a leading position in online and social games particularly with our world series of poker brands and we have a very seasoned senior management team with over a hundred years of experience combined, it’s little overview of our market. So, we have a very large core business with a lot of opportunities for growth should there be a consumer recovery. I was talking about these diversified revenues streams, if you look at pie chart, you can see we have a lot of regions where we get a lot of different revenues from. And we see a lot of positive trends in this core business and I’ll go into some of those in various of these regions.

The first thing Las Vegas, so the Las Vegas market, it’s the market where the most pollution, there is very limited supply coming into the market after a period of a lot, sorry, I’ve been told to pull my hair out of the mike. So, we have a limited supply coming from market, you know, we have this period right after the downturn where we had a lot of increased capacity in Las Vegas.

And so that’s basically stabilized at this point and so we think that these visitation trends that we are seeing in past 2007, visitation level you’ll start to see a pickup in lot of these core hotel metrics, airline capacity has increased the terminal three coming online, we’ve setting our calls before we think group business, you know, is doing great particularly 2013, and 14 booking trends are looking quite strong and you know, our international high end business which we participate mainly in Caesars Palace has really seen lot of growth and we had a lot of capacity to that business to new high end billers and I’ll talk about a little bit later and some private gaming on.

Atlantic City is, you know, probably more challenged market as we look at that market and ways to address there, we’re really following a two pound approach to the market. First is, we really need to strike to make Atlantic City more of a regional destination and not just a day trip sort of convenient, that’s right, because there’s a lot of competition now and that’s really hampered Atlantic City thus far and so to get some of this more regional sort of larger visitation, one of the things that we like to do is to build this convention center you may have heard about, it’s a $140 million convention center, this should really provide buffer for this mid week business that is really lacking in Atlantic City, you see in Las Vegas.

Along side of this, we try to add a lot of new SAP offerings to Atlantic City and a lot of basically non gaming amenities that you’ve seen at least, you know, in a destination like Las Vegas, which really doesn’t exist in Atlantic City. Along that we are trying to really focus on this cost structure, so you can see in the last quarter we’ve made a lot of improvements for the cost structure, but Atlantic City are really still big revenue generating property, three out of four properties are still in the top 10 revenue generators for the company.

So, the issue there is really getting the cost structure lines with the new opportunities is in that market which is, you know, lower revenue environment when Atlantic City was built. And so to that extent we’ve been working on, you know, property tax assessments, which we’ve been fairly successful at, we’ve been, you know, working with the labor unions all other regulatory issues etcetera to try to bring that cost structure down.

And then in the regions, we started to see fun for trip sort of stabilized throughout those regions, we see favorable trends across most markets as far as growth obviously and some of that has to do with new competitors entering the market which doesn’t necessarily translate into things or sales growth prospect. The market as in general are looking (Inaudible).

Now, I’m going to go a little bit into this growth story, I sort of eluded to the beginning, when you think about the history of the gaming industry, the gaming industry has really extended in the Apex of growth, right, so you have the Las Vegas trip kind of (Inaudible) we had Atlantic City, we had the River balcaning trend, you know, and then some of the locations in Asia.

What we are really seeing right now is unprecedented regional gaming expansions here in the U.S. This expansion is a little bit different than the expansion when we had river boats because these are really urban core properties, right. So, we have a property open right now, right in the middle of Cleveland, so looking at Baltimore, we’re looking at Boston.

So, it’s very different type of properties that we are looking at than what previous (Inaudible), we are really working to be involved in those. And then of course we have online, which is huge opportunity and so it looks like that’s going through in a state-by-state method and we’ll continue to follow that. And of course there’s potential for increase gaming expansion opportunities in Asia.

So, as we start to look at this, you know, you can see we have 52 properties, seven countries and four continents. So, you can see that we are pretty widely diverse geographically and as we start to add some of these new distribution points, all of our distribution networks should benefit. So, you know, Las Vegas which kept a lot of its business from these properties that are spread out throughout the U.S should start to see the benefit of that as well.

So, I’m going to go through our development pipeline, I’ll start at the bottom and sort of work my way clockwise. So, in Las Vegas because of our abortions to that market, it’s the market we’re investing the most payment, so you’ll see multiple development projects are right here, right there in Las Vegas.

The link which is an outdoor prominent in remote area anchored by the world’s largest wheel, I’ll talk about it a little bit more in the later side, but that’s right in the center of our properties and truly a non gaming addition to Las Vegas.

Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon that’s about to be remade it to a boutique lifestyle hotel options, we are partnering with Trace, who has a long history of successful club operations to develop a club on that roof top, which will have one of the best views in Las Vegas as far as the day club, apologize.

And then we had Octavius Tower that opened up, that opened up in January, the three high end villas just opened about a week ago. And so, that’s part of this high end international capacity that we’ve been talking about, we had 8 villas before its opening. So, as a capacity increase, this is quite a significant capacity increase for that kind of client base, to go inside with Octavius Tower opening, we’ve opened up four additional private gaming forms, so that these customers then we have capacity to hold more of these customers at the same time.

Nobel Tower we are opening up in December, this is really a hotel, within a hotel concept, so it’s one of our towers, in Caesars Palace that we converted into sort of boutique lifestyle kind of branded, but first of its type, so it’s really a pilot for Nobel as well to see if there’s a comfort that can go on and the idea behind these towers to really change the mix of that tower, so that we’re getting more of the international cash paying customer in there.

Then we have our developments in Ohio, which (Inaudible). Horseshoe, Cincinnati plans to be opened in Q1 or Q2 of this year coming up, the Horseshoe proven which opened in May and then we have our VLT facility that go down, so we are 20% venture and we received a management fees. So, our returns are outsides on those sub account which is in Boston, it’s in east Boston, we’re buying the license there, we think we stand very good odds of receiving that license given or the benefits that we can provide for the city of revenues for that property.

And then Horseshoe Baltimore, so we just were awarded that license a few months ago and that referendum (Inaudible) our table games. So, this is a very exciting development for us now even more so than it was before, you know, the addition of table games bring fiscal to the project to be a little bit larger, we’re bending on a horseshoe brand, so that’s very exciting for us.

So, we look forward, you know, these developments pretty, come in pretty quick succession, you know, starting in this year. And so, we’re excited that most of these developments as you know will come online before 2015 and we’ll talk a little bit more about the capital structure a little bit later.

As I was talking about we’re really working to invest a lot in Las Vegas, we think that this is where a lot of growth is and it’s a good time to invest in there, so we have made a few upgrades to Caesars’ palace already, you know, added, you know, the convention space, we’ve opened up Octavius, we have the Bacchanal Buffet that just opened up, we’re going to be renovating the last tower at Caesars Palace, the Roman Tower in this coming year once we take Nobel online we’ll take that tower offline.

And we have a lot of new restaurant offerings, so we have all terms set in Caesars Palace, we have Gordon Ramsay in Paris, we have a new Gordon Ramsay pub opening up in Caesars Palace and Ruth’s Chris Steak House is going to be replacing the range over Harrah’s. We’re upgrading interior palace, re-branding it to the Quad, we’re really trying to make that property more posh with our Link development, which I’ll talk about in the next slide and really try to attract, you know, more customers that send a Strip area where we really control kind of all the corners there.

And like I mentioned we have the bills projects and the link, so the link is really an outdoor mall concept and it’s a non gaming concept and it’s really created to fit what we think is, you know, pocket of demand that haven’t been addressed with all the recent expansion.

So, you’ve had a lot of high end expansion or gaming expansion and we think that there’s this unmet need for this mid price sort of offering for S&B in retail etcetera, where you can spend $30 million as supposed to $100 million for, you know, (Inaudible).

So, all this will be anchored by 550 foot wheel which is going to be the largest in the world. We think the economics because we’re going to be quite compelling and we’ll yield that pricing throughout the day as maybe.

This project is set to open in phases over 2013. So, we will open at the beginning of 2014, it requires three months of testing as you can imagine, so it will open a little bit late then the rest of the projects.

And then online, online has been very exciting plus recently there’s lapping going on, so real money gaming which is one of three pounces as the strategy for online and it seems to be moving forward on a state-by-state basis in the U.S. now it’s Nevada being the first group of concert, we hope that’s up and running in the first quarter.

And we really think that’s going to provide, you know, benefit of showing other states, this is how you do the regulations, this is how it works and kind of facilitate package and other phases. We’ll go through the poker (Inaudible) break records, you know, we think it’s a great asset half of this online gaming business because the best price we can offer one of these online players at the seat at the world series of poker and to the extent that we control access to those seats we think we are at the big competitive advantage.

And finally, our social mobile business, you know, it’s really done good things for us, we purchased this company called Plasica last year, Plasica is a social games operator, it has, you know, the biggest game that it has bottom mania on Facebook, Android, ILS all that stuff, it’s regularly one of the top grossing apps on the ILS platform.

And so, it’s really, you know, exciting for us because we finally have a product that we can offer to almost every customer without being restricted by the regulators and so to extent we can continue to grow this business well.

And finally, we continue to look at Asia, not a lot of to sure put in this front, but you know, we continue to look for opportunities in the various jurisdictions that are considering negotiation.

I’ll talk a little bit about Caesars, I mentioned our brands at the beginning, so we have a pretty diverse brand portfolio and we have a brand that fit someone, you know, every type of customer we’re thinking, you know, the important brand is right there at the center of the total word’s brand which kind of anchors all of these together.

So, total of words, it’s a first program of its kind when we implemented and we still think it’s an industry leader, so we continue to invest in this program, you know, even though we are the first who want to make sure we don’t fall behind, so we’re doing a lot of, you know, update to the database, big data analysis etcetera and it really drives convenient full premiums, so you know, now local markets, we have less than 15% premium (Inaudible) position basis, and we attribute that mostly to the total words. When you look at properties that have been plugged into the total words we have a few examples from properties we have acquired and you’ll see meaningful improvement and even with revenues once they are plugged in the most recent example of that has been Hollywood where we more than doubled EBITDA performance once it was plugged into our network.

And then project we’ve always talked about, for sometime now in our call, this is really our reorganization of the business to create a more efficient enterprise (Inaudible) and really improve decision making, it’s a little bit more than just a cost cutting exercise, you know, it’s really trying to rethink how we do the business compared to other companies outside of our industry like (Inaudible) and say how do they stood up the work that they actually do for each property and the answer is not that they put, you know, every property as a standalone basis, you know, what you’ll see a lot of retailers choose a lot of centralization and things like that, so we worked quite a bit on that and we think it’s a tough message to the benefits we’ve seen that these are service scores have maintained them well, but you know, historic highs once we’ve implemented a lot of these, you know, cost reduction efforts and centralization.

I’ll talk a little bit about the capital structure, you know, like Peter eluded to, we’ve been very active in the transaction front, most notably pushing out maturities and really creating a runway for our core business to operate, you know, at this point if you look at that stat you know that 2015 to be our best you know about $12 billion at the start of 2011 we’ve been able to bring that down mostly by focusing on extending the bench stat that was due 2015. Right now the majority of 2015 that is centered on CMBS properties.

So, if you look forward and you compare that capital factor or development projects, you’ll see a lot of these projects come online before some of that, we’ll start to see some of that benefit as we’re pushing some of these maturities out and hopefully see a core business recovery alongside that.

So, in conclusion, you know, we think we have a superior business model, our total word database is industrial leading and continues to provide us a meaningful premium. We have a very, you know, mostly funded and visible development pipeline that should be coming online over the next few years, we have significant option value with some of the auction team taken with online gaming. And the balance stating operation improvements we’re doing are really providing a runway to allow these development projects to come online.

And for the core business that starts showing some recovery and start go through, you know, which you know, it’s a big business and that’s all I got. So, if you guys have questions or anything else I will be happy to answer always.

Question-and-Answer Session

Unidentified Analyst

Can you just talk about really high levels on macroeconomic standpoint seeing some positive data and housing, do you think that will translate into consumer behavior in 2013 as more 2014 events?

Unidentified Company Representative

Yeah, so we think it will to the extent that housing stock market and we think the big consumer driver sort of sub certainty, you know, so when we look back at trends in our gaming revenues versus some of these economic indicators one of the best indicators we’ve seen is, you know, the changing consumer network adjusted for gaming trade and so, when you think about that metric there’s housing in there, there’s certainly a stock market other issues, but there’s also this portion of savings, right to the extent, but somebody is insecure about what their future is or they’re worried about unemployment or other factors that kind of full delays from discretionary income and it’s customer liquidity.

So, as that starts to kind of level out as we kind of see what happens with the fiscal turf we hope to start seeing some of that go through into consumer sentiment and gaming growth.

Unidentified Analyst

Just a small question, you talked about having to revitalize an activity make more of a destination, but you’re also expanding in Baltimore, in Cleveland or opening properties there and online gaming is growing for you, how those two melt, what’s the (Inaudible)?

Unidentified Company Representative

That’s one of the main reasons, so when we talk about this convention center, one of the main reason is that feasible is because we’re getting funding from the CRDA in New Jersey. And so to the extent that makes our returns more agreeable and aligned with what we are getting in other regions that becomes a viable investment.

If we for whatever reasons don’t receive the CRDA funds it would be very difficult for us given the alternate use of capital like you stated to it’s actually just investment in new city and that part of the reason we haven’t done in for sometime, so we talked about this convention center idea for sometime. But the economics and the return that you stated haven’t been there to justify making that investment over some of these alternative issues, you know, it’s interesting to see now with the effects of hurricane Sandy, you know, we’re battle fall, you know, there wasn’t any major sustained damage to the properties and most of our properties has been (Inaudible) during the storm. I think they immediately required the service through Atlantic city until we’ve seen depressed volume since until that might also, you know, impact somewhat what happens in that scenario.

Unidentified Analyst

You just mentioned hurricane Sandy as you can give a little more color on other damage, the business interruption damage when they occurred what type of insurance and policies you have regard in that?

Unidentified Company Representative

Sure, so, we have a, so like I said the property sustained very minimal damage, you know, the three board walk properties been in the last tower, we had a few panels and you know, (Inaudible) that kind of fell down, but that’s fairly minimal.

A lot of the impact have been, you know, typically shutdown because of any given reason and when you opened up a backup, you know, volumes immediately jump up, now wasn’t the case with Sandy, we had a lot of people canceling their trip, people didn’t even think, you know, Atlantic city was going up quite honestly I think.

And so, you know, (Inaudible) talking about some of those depressed volumes. Recently, so, you know, the top two damages you’ll see kind of a jump back in volumes. So, we’re encouraged by that hopefully some of that ramp up is now (Inaudible).

As far as insurance we have an insurance policy with a $25 million deductible that includes both property damage and business interruption, it’s unclear at this point, you know, if we’re going to hit that or not, it all depends, but we’re still working through this on, how much of this ramp up period is covered by insurance or not and that’s really going to be determining factor and how that plays out.

Unidentified Analyst

Can you talk about the impact that the continue development of regional gaming properties have on the Las Vegas strip market if there’s any impact at all?

Unidentified Company Representative

Yeah, so we think it’s a great benefit to Las Vegas market, so when you saw the first wave of regional expansion, you know, people were citing dooms day scenario for a Las Vegas right there they were saying oh let’s day people can go down the street, nobody’s ever going to go Las Vegas if you can, and what we saw is quite the opposite we saw, you know, Las Vegas kind of benefit from all those, right you have more people introduced to the products, you have more reasons to go out, people familiar with it.

So we think that this is really going to be good for Las Vegas for main models some of these properties like Ohio, Baltimore, you know, that’s something that we have take into effect that, it’s not just economics that we get out of that property, but really the database affects of, you know, how these players now, we have a new set of players that are unpacked that will be interested now and taking trips to Las Vegas etcetera. And so, we’re hopefully think it’s going to be good.

Unidentified Analyst

Can you go into a little more detail on your capital structure as far as what type of leverage your target going forward if you’re looking to take some more actions maybe in the near future, I know you have a couple (Inaudible) just a little more color and (Inaudible)?

Unidentified Company Representative

Yeah, so, in general, you know, the first two main priorities are really, you know, pushing out finishing kind of extending some of that COC got out of 2015 and then similarly, you know, on the CMBS side we wouldn’t address that immediately because it’s reasonably too fast and we know that our interest cost will increase whenever we address that, but to the extent that we can continue to do some discount every purchases etcetera leading up to some sort of re-financing of the CMBS will continue to do that, outside of that, you know, we continue to monitor, you know, whether it makes sense, we still have this shop registration for equity and so to the extent that it make sense to these that for the equity changes we would entertain those the thoughts verified has been such but that’s been very appealing to us, but it’s certainly an option that we continue to monitor.

And you know, we really hope to kind of grow into this capital structure, we have a really large core business that has a lot of operational leverage should there be any uptake in the consumer and we have a lot of these developmental projects that should add to that. So, overtime we hope to sort of grow into this capital structure.

Unidentified Analyst

With online gaming (Inaudible) the first test, can you talk about some of the product that you made in other state legislatively, what’s going on (Inaudible) population house?

Unidentified Company Representative

So, the biggest win (Inaudible) would be California to open up, they have a disproportionate share, we think of online gaming market. But to the extent that the politic their workout within the next year or two, you know, it’s predicated a lot on what the tribes there want to do and they’re kind of need, we operate (Inaudible) tribe, we partnered with that tribe, should there be legalization in California we would go to the licensing process with (Inaudible) tribe.

And so, you know, I think that would be the biggest fund the other, big win would be New Jersey which I’ve been discussing it for sometime that’s kind of (Inaudible)

presidential state with all those Sandy efforts, it also sort of on the back burden, but we did New Jersey would be (Inaudible) high population state with a lot of love. And a lot of its draft that the bills they’ve been talking about require you to have a license in the state in orient to operate and so we’re seeing (Inaudible) four of those license, we think (Inaudible) pretty good competitive position should New Jersey open up.

And then to the extent, you know, some of these smaller state start looking at, you know, to the extent that Delaware (Inaudible) could partner with Nevada, we think that will be beneficial for all the operators and the state because they can increase that liquidity (Inaudible).

Unidentified Analyst

You’ve talked about the development pipeline, right. Could you talk a little bit about the capital requirements at the existing properties? And how you guys are sort of thinking about (Inaudible) over the next few years and whether you think there is a sort of differed CapEx issue at the core property?

Unidentified Company: So, we’ve talked quite a bit in the past about our differed CapEx, there’s certainly differed CapEx, but it’s mostly concentrated in Las Vegas in a real product, so that’s really where we pulled back during the downturn, our regional properties, if you go to them that’s quite nice and good shape, there are some differed Capex in Atlantic City, but as we discussed earlier it’s a little bit more difficult to justify investment.

We started to work on this CapEx in Las Vegas, so you know, the power that we’re converting into (Inaudible) which one of these places. And now that we quote the same transaction it’s beginning November, we’re really going to get much more aggressive about this investment in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. So, there’s a lot of hotel towers that we’re really going to focus on, we have the Roman Tower over at Caesars Palace that once we take the noble online we’ll probably take that one offline. And we have a tower (Inaudible) convention center, (Inaudible) side we’re also looking at some of the rooms (Inaudible) Paris and eventually some of the room (Inaudible) this is not a one year project, you can’t take that many towers offline at the same time and reduce capacity by that much.

But over the next couple of years, we (Inaudible) through all these products. And like I said this is, you know, one of the big drivers for kind of pushing through us a little bit more aggressively than we would (Inaudible) you know, we need to reinvest back in the business and that’s where we plan to try to invest more cities.

Unidentified Analyst

Hey Jay, just a question on the DVS, (Inaudible) mentioned earlier, potentially you know, maybe doing discounting purchases, I assume we are talking about (Inaudible) either side. Just curious where your magnitude, there’s a trigger you know on the med if you buy that too much that senior (Inaudible) is that something…?

Unidentified Company Representative

It’s something we watch it becomes less relevant the closer you get to maturity, right. So, well right now that wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial as you start approaching it, it’s a fact that (Inaudible) much of a hit at that point, so you’re right, we monitor, but I think as we start near and that becomes a less important trigger.

Unidentified Analyst

I’m going to talk a little bit about the recent announcement of the joint venture with enjoy, what your thought process of potential benefits have you seen it?

Unidentified Company Representative

Yeah, so we’re very excited about this, it’s a good way to monetize one of our international assets. So, essentially we owned, you know, about 95% of this (Inaudible) property and we sold to 45% state to enjoy.

Now they’re paying for that (Inaudible) as well as percentage stock, so we’ll be owners and 10% of their company as a result (Inaudible) you can kind of figure out all the map.

And for us, it was very compelling trade, we were able to sell that portion of business that multiple valuation (Inaudible) 10 times. And so, that was very good use of capital and we’re still majority owners of that, so we will continue to consolidate that and that EBITDA won’t go away from our financials.

Unidentified Analyst

Similar question on the CMBS what kind of restrictions do you have in your bond (Inaudible) market as discount, I mean, to what extent?

Unidentified Company Representative

So, within the CEOC structure, we’re restricted from repurchasing bonds based on our restricted payment basket, we have a little bit of capacity into that basket not meaningful. So, that’s a main restriction, the way we’ve done in (Inaudible) we repurchased from the parent entity and so there is no restrictions from the parent entity repurchasing some of that. And so, that’s the strategy we’ve taken in order to kind of execute the transactions when we wanted to.

Unidentified Analyst

One other thing and what do you have in the way of secured (Inaudible)?

Unidentified Company Representative

We haven’t disclosed this specific amount, we have various baskets and based on our February and then we’re able to increase (Inaudible) capacity based on how much (Inaudible) capacity were produced into these expansion, transactions reproduced quite a bit (Inaudible) capacity (Inaudible) we are not very concerned about the upcoming (Inaudible) capacity need to extent that, you know, it’s (Inaudible) so if it expires it’s not the worst thing in the world, but you know, we do gain that first (Inaudible) keep cash on the balance sheet we’re able to do that.

Unidentified Company Representative

Anybody have questions?

Unidentified Analyst

Going back to the development pipeline that we are talking about earlier, when you were talking about the potential AC convention center with $140 million investment, how should we be thinking about the besides of the AC convention center market, what you know, potential market share you think you can gain?

Unidentified Company Representative

Yeah, so actually I think we have some of those steps here, let’s go back, it’s way back sorry, the northeast market is a 16 day long market and Atlantic City right now has less than 1% of that. We think, we could significantly increase that and we actually think we can grow the market. So, we have a lot of visibility and to meeting plan our business through Las Vegas. And this is what makes the AC convention center so compelling to us as we know. We know about meeting planners who would like to be somewhere they could drive to and just can’t find the appropriate size facility to do so in the northeast and so they end up with you know, they can go to Las Vegas (Inaudible).

So, to the extent that we already have relationships with these little planners, they know how our commercial structure work, they know how to, you know, work with our folks and the type of products that we deliver. We think that we can actually grow this meeting business in the northeast and really provide some good market share metrics in Atlantic City.

Unidentified Company Representative

There won’t be anymore questions. Thank you, Jackie for spending the time (Inaudible).

Unidentified Company Representative


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