Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited

Q1 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk08: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for participating in the first quarter 2023 earnings conference call of Milka Resorts and Entertainment Limited. At this time, all participants are on a listen-only mode. After the call, we will conduct a question and answer session. Today's conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to Ms. Jeannie Kim, Senior Vice President, Group Treasurer of Milka Resorts and Entertainment Limited. Please go ahead.
spk07: Thank you, operator, and thank you, everybody, for joining us today for our first quarter 2023 earnings call. On the call are Lawrence Ho, Jeff Davis, Evan Winkler, and our property presidents in Macau, Manila, and Cyprus. Before we get started, please note that today's discussion may contain forward-looking statements made under the safe harbor provision of federal securities law. Our actual results could differ from our anticipated results. In addition, we may discuss non-GAAP measures. Definition and reconciliation of each of these measures to the most comparable GAAP financial measures are included in the earnings release. Finally, please note that our supplementary earnings slides are posted on our investor relations website. With that, I'll now turn the call over to Mr. Lawrence Ho.
spk05: Thank you, Jeannie. We have seen a very encouraging start to the recovery in Macau during the first quarter of 2023, following the relaxation of border restrictions in early January and the recovery has progressed faster than we had anticipated. We continue to see improving momentum into April and solid performance during the May golden week. Mass drop and mass GGR during this golden week period exceeded the same period in 2019. And the turnover in our premium direct segment more than doubled. We launched some exciting new initiatives in April. We started Macau's first ever series of residency concerts at Studio City and opened Studio City phase two, starting with the opening of Epic Hotel Tower and the indoor water park. We also plan to open the W Hotel Tower in September, which will round out our hotel portfolio in Macau. These initiatives reinforced our longstanding commitment to bringing unique, world-class entertainment and hotel offerings to Macau. We have a diverse range of events that are being planned for the future that we believe will continue to drive international tourism and position Macau as a leading destination for leisure and entertainment. We've seen strength in the Philippines with a solid recovery underway. Adjusted property EBITDA at City of Dreams Manila for the first quarter of 2023 surpassed the first quarter of 2019. Performance in Cyprus has also been strong with both GGR and adjusted property EBITDA exceeding 2019 levels. The operational results of our temporary and satellite casinos have proven that there is strong demand in Cyprus. We're excited to open City of Dreams Mediterranean in mid-June and showcase our expertise with the first integrated resort of its kind in the region. With that, I turn the call over to Jeff to go through some of the numbers.
spk01: Thank you, Lawrence. Our group-wide adjusted property EBITDA for the first quarter of 2023 was approximately 191 million. Luck-adjusted group-wide property EBITDA for the first quarter of 2023 came in at 197 million, a favorable win rate, positively affected COD Manila by around 14 million, while in Macau, COD and Studio City were negatively affected by close to 20 million due to unfavorable win rates. Property EBITDA at COD Macau and Studio City were also negatively affected by mass hold, which was lower than our historical average. If we normalize for both mass and VIP, Macau property EBITDA for 1Q2023 would have been 192 million. compared to our reported results of 121 million. And the hold-adjusted property EBITDA margin would have been approximately 28.5%. We have been able to achieve significant cost savings over the last few years, and this continues to be a focus as we hire staff to support the recovery. We estimate that we will have approximately 2,000 fewer full-time employees compared to 2019 once we are fully ramped up including the FTEs needed for the opening of EPIC, the W, and the water park at Studio City. We remain disciplined on cost management and expect to retain at least 20% to 25% of the savings we achieve through the COVID period as permanent savings. Turning to our cash and liquidity, as of March 31, 2023, we had close to $1.5 billion of consolidated cash on hand. Melco, excluding its operations at Studio City, the Philippines, and Cyprus, accounted for around $750 million. Of this, approximately $125 million was restricted and includes cash collateral required for concession-related guarantees issued to the Macau government. Total debt declined by around $550 million during the first quarter of 2023 with the repayment of our revolving credit facility. As we normally do, we'll give you some guidance on non-operating line items for the upcoming second quarter of 2023. Total depreciation and amortization expense is expected to be approximately $140 million. The higher amount compared to previous guidance is due to the recognition of the new Macau gaming concession as an intangible asset on January 1st and the related amortization costs. Corporate expense is expected to come in at approximately $20 million. And consolidated net interest expense is expected to be approximately $120 to $125 million. This includes finance liability interest of around $5 million related to fees payable in relation to the Macau gaming concession, finance lease interest of $5 to $10 million relating to City of Dreams Manila, and around $5 to $10 million of capitalized interest. That concludes our prepared remarks. Operator, back to you for the Q&A.
spk08: thank you ladies and gentlemen to ask a question you will need to press star one one on your telephone and wait for your name to be announced to enjoy your question press star one one again one moment please for a question and i'm showing uh we have a question coming from the line of george joy with city your line is open hey guys thank you very much for taking my questions um
spk04: On Studio City Phase 2, any more comment on how it has been doing since the opening would be very much appreciated. And also, would you please remind us of your target OIC on Phase 2, please? Thank you very much.
spk05: Hey, hi, George. It's Lawrence. So, you know, I think we've been very pleased with the opening of Studio City Phase 2. Maybe I'll give, you know, David and Kevin a chance to talk about the details, but Since we opened in early April, which was around the same time as the start of the residency series, we have seen Studio City overall is much busier, and we see the gaming results correspondingly as well. On the ROI question, maybe I'll hand it over to Jeff, but maybe David, Kevin, want to add some color to what you guys have seen with Phase 2 so far?
spk02: Sure. So, look, it's been a few things, George. I think one, as we look at it, obviously, we opened up on April 6th. We opened up kind of softly, opened about 100 rooms when we opened it up, and then we've kind of gone out to, at the end of the month, right before the golden week, we got it up to 338 rooms and suites. Again, we wanted to do it softly, trying to get, again, our processes and procedures and services so they're all aligned and being in a really good place. As we've opened it, though, we've seen really good feedback from our customers. It's a nice product differentiation for Studio City.
spk00: It strikes a really nice balance with the Epic Tower between what we've done with Morpheus and what we have with Nua.
spk02: So, again, it's going to allow us to really grow our premium mouse customers over at Studio City. as well as taking advantage of all the attractions and things that we've developed over at Studio City over the last few years. Additionally, we launched our residency series in April, which has proven to be very, very popular. What we've seen right now between what we opened with Epic, the indoor water park, and with the concert series, we've seen our volumes rise about 40% from a drop standpoint. So again, we're quite pleased with the early results of what we've seen so far. We're anticipating better results as we go forward.
spk04: That's very good comment. Thank you very much.
spk08: Thank you. And as a reminder, ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question, please press star 1-1 on your touchtone telephone. Star 1-1 to ask a question. And our next question coming from the line of Provincial Diary, your line is open.
spk00: Thank you very much. Congratulations on a great set of results. May I ask about the mass market business that you're seeing in terms of premium versus base mass? Are you seeing the spending per capita to be better than 2019? Are you seeing more rigid customers coming in? Any color on the kind of customers who are coming, that will be useful. And the second question is, Since Golden Week is over, have you seen business tapering down as usual, or it has been holding on very strong? Thank you.
spk05: Hey, Praveen. Thanks for the question. This is Lawrence. So again, maybe I'll let David add more color. In terms of, I think so far the recovery has exceeded all of our expectations. It's been much faster and better than we had hoped for. But it's very much a premium mass-led recovery because in terms of the visitation numbers, I think across all of Macau, it's still down from 2019. But in terms of for Golden Week, especially all of our key volume metrics at mass, slots, and premium direct are all exceeding 2019 levels. So I think naturally the spend per customer is higher than previously. So we're quite pleased with that. And I think as the infrastructure and when it becomes easier for people to come to Macau, because right now, you know, the cost to travel here is still quite high, I think that's when the base mass will come in. And so we're encouraged by that. So I don't know, David, do you want to?
spk02: Sure, Fred. Look, I think it is a, much as Lauren said, it is a premium mask-led recovery at this point until that infrastructure for the transportation kind of gets straightened out. I don't think we'll see that base mask coming through. With that said, the level of play that we've seen from our premium mask customers is that from a theoretical standpoint for players, significantly higher than what we've seen in 2019. So again, we've been very pleased with the players that we've seen coming back, the level of play that they've exhibited. And we think that will continue as we go forward here. We don't see any slowdown in that at all at this point. In terms of the golden week, typically, obviously, you know, you go through these big holiday periods, you see it taper down for a little bit, and then kind of recover to normal. We're kind of seeing that normal pattern. If you look at the last week here, in terms as we got out of the golden week, we are expecting things to pick up, and we're seeing that somewhat in, obviously, our reservations and the demands and some of the things that we have going on for the rest of the month of May. So, we don't anticipate that'll be down for very long. Again, it's just following the normal pattern.
spk00: Very helpful, thank you. Can I just have a follow-up on what you just mentioned? In terms of the visitation running at 50, 60%, even though mass is running at much higher level, what are the specific restrictions which are not allowing us to go back to 100% of visitation? Some of these I understand, air is not fully recovered and so on. But the key question is, do we expect... back to 2019 kind of visitation to Macau. And if that's the case, would we expect mass revenue or EBITDA to go back to 120, 130, 140% of 2019 level, assuming that spending per capita continues to remain higher? I'm not asking for the projection, just the thought that maybe we recover in terms of visitation fully in the next several quarters. Thank you.
spk05: Well, Praveen, it's Lauren. So I think the next key period is going to be summer, so around July, August. And if you look at the airlift into Macau right now, the Macau airport is still only doing about 30%. And so right now, of course, the Guangdong province and the province that can visit Macau very easily are coming. But in terms of provinces that require you know, more airplane and stuff like that. I think that's certainly a growth area. And so far, the recovery, the first few months have been, you know, there's been a lot of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a bigger portion than usual. So I certainly think Macau will hopefully get back to close to the visitation levels of the past in the next few months within this calendar year. I think in which case, just judging from where our mass and slots and premium direct numbers are, we'll exceed that of 2019 sooner rather than later.
spk00: Extremely helpful. Thank you, Lawrence. Thank you, David. And all the best.
spk08: Thank you. And our next question coming from the line of Angus Chen with UBS. Your line is open.
spk06: Hi, good evening, Lawrence. A couple of questions on the Q1 results. I guess very strong results that we've seen. I think it's above expectations. Can you talk about the phasing of that? I suppose March will be the strongest month, and then April further improved, just based on, I guess, industry gaming revenue numbers. And I guess secondly, were you restricted in terms of capacity in Q1? And therefore, you know, in Q2, then we look for growth in capacity on a Q1-Q basis. Thank you.
spk05: Hey, Angus. So again, let me hand it off to David to add more color. But yeah, you're right. You know, I think every month, you know, starting after Chinese New Year, every subsequent month, we have seen increases. I think that's why we You know, I think not just every month, kind of every weekend we're seeing kind of an uplift from the previous weekend. And so, you know, very encouraged by that. But, you know, maybe David can share more, you know, details on the ground.
spk02: Sure. So, Angus, if you kind of look in terms of where we've been impacted the most, it's probably our availability with hotel rooms. When we started off in the first quarter, essentially, we were working to basically get back to 70%, 80% of our availability of the hotel rooms. Some of that was due to just we'd lost so much staff during the pandemic that it took time to hire staff back, get them trained up again, just kind of working our way back through the systems. And it takes time, as you know, in Macau, because of DSAL and some of the waiver kind of constraints that we have in the process in terms of how you go back and you bring the waiver into the market. So that's had a constraint on us. which impacted us to some extent. I think you've probably heard that on some of the other calls and obviously through some of the other concessionaires as well. The good news for us is we got basically back to about 70%. We're about 80% in April. And to May for the Golden Week, we got to 90%. We're looking to be about 100% back of our availability for our hotels, including obviously the Epic now with our new 338 rooms and suites by the end of June. So we're moving through that pretty quickly. The government's been really helpful in terms of us getting staff, and they've been very cooperative with us. So we've been very fortunate in working to get our staff back. And the key part for us now is to get everybody trained up, get the service levels where they need to be, and move forward here for us.
spk06: Got it. Thank you. Can I just clarify? So you mentioned that you started at 70% in January and then ramping up to expecting 100% by end of June. Is that correct?
spk02: Yeah, I'd say 70% through the first quarter, Angus, and then basically getting to 100% by basically back to 100% availability by the time we get to the end of June.
spk06: Perfect. Thank you very much.
spk05: And then, of course, say Angus is Lawrence, and then, of course, W will open in September before Golden Week in October. So that's going to be another, for us at least, you know, that's another 550-plus rooms.
spk02: 558 rooms in Sweden. So that's also, again, kind of a nice changer for us from a demographic standpoint, too, and the people that it will attract. So from a 25- to 35-year-old demographic, it's a fairly high spending. So we're very excited as far as setting the W open.
spk06: Great. Thank you. Thank you.
spk08: Thank you. And our next question coming from the line of Simon Cheung with Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.
spk03: Hi, everyone. Thanks for taking my question. I have two questions. I remember in the wind call earlier this morning, there was some comment by management saying that if the industry GGR going to like $26.5 billion, then they will see the EBITDA back to historical level. I understand there's a lot of, you know, presumptions on, you know, how, you know, the mix as well as the cost saving. But hearing that, you know, Jeff was saying that you'd be able to maintain like 20, 25% of the cost saving. I'm wondering if you can give us a sense, perhaps not to that extent, maybe what sort of mass market GGR would you need in order to get your EBITDA back to the historical level? And maybe also on that point, perhaps you can, Jeff, maybe you can share with us what your daily OPEX in the quarter as well. Thank you.
spk01: Sure. So for the first question, what sort of mass GGR as a percentage of 2019, do we need to get to have similar EBITDA to 2019? That's in the ballpark of 110 to 115%. And then from an OpEx perspective, for the first quarter of 2023, we were at about 2.0. That's up from 1.7 in the fourth quarter.
spk03: Okay, that's great. And then I have one more question. I think that's for Lawrence. We've been being asked by MSF about your two-layer structures, your ownership into Melco International and then Melco International into MLCO. I also understand that the parent company, Melco International, do need some cash from time to time, and we have seen you doing a bit of set-by-back to uplift some of the cash to the parent company. How are you thinking about the structure for the time being and how are you thinking of the two-layer structure resulted in maybe some of the cash being retained at the MLCO level? Would you be considering dividends earlier than expectation or some other way to maybe get some cash out to support the parent company? Thank you.
spk05: Simon, so I think With the transactions that were done earlier this year and also last year, I think Melco International doesn't have any immediate cash needs. And given the strong recovery in the Macau business, our primary focus is really on paying down debt at Melco Resort and also hoping to restart the dividend. So that's by far, that's our number one, one and only motivation and objective right now. You know, of course, at the same time, if we have more breathing room, we would have, you know, we look at how to simplify our structure. I think that's always a nice to have. But again, I think in the immediate near term is still paying down debt and hoping to restart dividends.
spk03: Okay, that's clear. Thanks a lot for taking my questions.
spk08: Thank you. And I'm showing no further questions in the queue. I will now turn the call back over to Ginny Kim.
spk07: Thank you, operator, and thank you for joining us for the call today. We'll see you next quarter. Thank you.
spk08: Ladies and gentlemen, that's our conference for today. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.

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