Wynn Resorts Ltd Earnings Call Insights: Cotai, VIP in Macau

On Monday, Wynn Resorts Ltd (NASDAQ:WYNN) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Here’s what the C-suite revealed.


Joseph Greff – JPMorgan: Congratulations on Cotai. I know it’s something we’ve been waiting for with (data breath) for a while. It’s nice to see getting improved. Can you just talk about other than Brown breaking ground on it, what the other timetables might be with respect to labor and when do you start to see some acceleration in project capital spend? I know it’s not going to be a lot for some time? Then I know you’ve had previous comments in prior calls about special dividends, but how do you think about special dividends in the near-term given what’s going to be some level of spend in Cotai? Then if I can have a part two question, we noticed in March that your junket rolling chip turnover on absolute basis is nicely better than in February or January. Can you talk about what drove that if that’s additional junkets or additional marketing, what drove that that’ll be helpful?

Stephen A. Wynn – Chairman and CEO: Those are the two part question, Joe.

Joseph Greff – JPMorgan: Or maybe a little bit more than two part.

A Closer Look: Wynn Resorts Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Stephen A. Wynn – Chairman and CEO: Next time maybe we’ll give you a multiple choice. A, timetable, I believe that we will be 36 to 42 months or 3.5 years, 42 to 46 months in that range for this job in Cotai, number one. Number two with regard to that structure, we have spent 28 intense months by design partner DeRuyter Butler and Roger Thomas and I, I think the three of us have probably done more of these than anybody else, but this is the work of our lifetime. 28 months, every week to try and make this hotel in Cotai, show the public in Asia and around the world something new. Hopefully, we have achieved that. We have certainly taken enough time and drawn on every spec and every drop of experience that we’ve had. We have had the benefit of watching our competitors upgrade and improve their designs and presentations to the benefit of Macau. The Venetian’s work at Four Seasons and at The Venetian, certainly the Galaxy Group and the fellows at Melco have all gone to their strong game. We have had the benefit of seeing all that, coupling it with our own experience and creative resources, and we’re going to respond in a very strong way with these 2,000 rooms that we are building on the Cotai land. The property as you know is a landfill so as Wynn and Macau was also – Wynn Encore was also on a landfill, and we went down for foundations through 60 meters of landfill to get to rock to anchor our current buildings. This time, we’re going to go down in the high-rise portion at least at a shallowest point of 78 meters and at the deepest point 92 meters, with caissons that are three meters across 10 feet, lot of deep holes, lot of concrete and reinforced steel bars. So drying out this land which was going to drop at a meter or two in certain parts, because it’s wet in some places and getting ready for pilings is going to take us several months. The foundation is the most challenging part of this job. Once we get to driving piles and we get up to grade, the building goes it very quickly because it’s important place to concrete and every floor is the same. Even though the podium is very creative and unique, and everything in it is unique getting out of the ground is a trick, after that it’s pretty straightforward and simple and we take advantage of a lot of economies and speed in China that aren’t really not available in America. It is also true that there is a lot going on in South China, in Macau and Hong Kong in the form of public works and competitive construction. It’s a lively part of the world and there is great things going on. So labor is an issue. The government is cooperating. The way it works in Macau is the government is thoughtful and they take thoughtful direction from the central government I believe if they think they needed, but the way it works there is that things take a certain amount of time and then at the end of the period that is just concluded last week when we got our land concession. The government makes a decision that this project shall now go forward. When they decide that it shall go forward, then they are cooperative and helpful. That has been our experience exclusively through two major construction jobs and I am confident that that will be our experience again. If the government doesn’t want you to build the building, then they don’t give you the concession. When they give you the land concession, that means it’s time to go, do a good job and get on with it, and that’s why we’re about to do. So, those are my comments about the Cotai project at the (indiscernible) groundbreaking and we’re going to be going lickety-split to get it done as quick as possible. If along the way we have opportunities to accelerate and foreshorten these periods, I’ve given you the worst case and we will. But right now, it looks that way to me and I’m not yet ready for a final budget on the building. We’re working on that now and we will have that probably by the next quarter that we have one of these phone calls. Joe, you asked me I think also about our turn.

Matt Maddox – CFO and Treasurer: He asked about the special dividend and then…

Stephen A. Wynn – Chairman and CEO: Special dividends are special dividends, You take those issues as you find them at the end of the year and you measure all the other factors, my Board weighs our financial condition at the time and the obligations that we’ve got under way and the more specific schedule of construction. As you pointed out though, we do have a healthy lead time and a very strong cash flow in China. So, will discuss special dividends when it seems appropriate to take them under real life consideration. I don’t have any intelligent comments to make other than that today and was there anything about the third quarter (indiscernible) month?

Matt Maddox – CFO and Treasurer: Yeah. I don’t think there is anything interesting going on between January, February, and March in terms of turnover. What we’re seeing all the way up until today is volumes are up over last year and in Macau on the VIP side the market is still very robust.

Unidentified Company Speaker: I also think that the customers are coming back to mama. They tried all the other properties and they are play where they feel they’re most comfortable and that seems to what I’m seeing now.

Stephen A. Wynn – Chairman and CEO: We had some big days when Sheldon opened up his new hotels. There are lot of people came to town, because of the excitement associated with the openings and we had $30 million odd a day – we had some monstrous days. So a bunch of 20s and 30s was pretty good, but everybody in town did good. If you look at those weekly numbers they published, we were having these big volumes and we were just under 13% of the market. So, it shows you that it’s still pretty healthy there by any measure that we can see.

VIP in Macau

Shaun Kelley – Banc of America Securities Merrill Lynch: I just wanted to ask about kind of what you’re seeing more on the mass floor you just touched on VIP in Macau. Mass dropped this quarter look like it was only up low single-digit percentages. In the market in the first quarter we saw the market continue to pick up on the mass side. So just wanted to get your sense of market share wise, I know you have some capacity constraints at the property, but what are you thinking about growth rates in mass was? And then a second one if I could would simply be operating expenses in Macau look like they were up a little bit again sequentially this quarter. Wondering if, A, there is anything in that that would be non-recurring, or B, just kind of what – how to think about the run rate going forward?

Matt Maddox – CFO and Treasurer: Sure. So, Shaun, I think one thing to think about in the mass casino is to make sure we look at our table games. If you look year-over-year and we transitioned a lot of table games from mass to VIP. So, our table win per unit in the mass floor was up 27% year-over-year. So what that is, is really as we are just yielding our floor, we’ve got it more VIP tables, and the drop was actually up over 3% year-on-year with, Wynn billing it was up 27%. So we’re just continuing to see very good volumes on the mass side and also in VIP. I am sorry question is about operating expenses?

Shaun Kelley – Banc of America Securities Merrill Lynch: Basically you were up $10 million sequentially; it may depend a little bit on the day count there, but, yes just kind of wondering, the second quarter in a row in Macau there has been a little bit higher and just kind of wondering what – if there is anything in there. I think last quarter you called out bad debt a little bit?

Matt Maddox – CFO and Treasurer: Shaun, the answer is if you look on the income statement, in the press release, you’ll see that bad debt expense was up $8 million, and that was all in Macau. What we said is we had a few large accounts that went past 150 days. We have a very conservative accounting policy that 150 days were fully reserved. So we had a few large accounts go over 150 days or bad debt provision went up. We’re 55% reserved in Macau right now and our collections in the second quarter have continued to be very stable and normal.