Miscellaneous Earnings Call Notes 12.11.15

Universal Health Services (UHS) Presents at Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 Leveraged Finance Brokers Conference

Steve Filton

Behavioral health business is more recession resistant

“if you’re seeking — and you’re seeking acute care treatment, you need a hip implant or you need some sort of ENT surgery et cetera, you may think about the economics of that; you may choose to postpone that because you don’t want to come out of pocket for a co-pay or deductable or because you don’t want to be out of work frankly during a tough economic climate. But if you try to commit suicide or you overdose on drugs and alcohol, you are not going to be in a position to decide whether you should or shouldn’t be admitted to the hospital. That decision is really being made generally by somebody else who is effectively economically insensitive to what your economics of the situation or concerns might be. So, I think that’s another reason why the behavioral business has generally proved to be more, I’ll call it, recession resistant.”

Optimum occupancy in behavioral care is in the low to mid 70s

“occupancy rates and our behavioral facility peaks in the mid 80s, right around 84% in about 2005-2006. What we started to do at that point because we have a view probably the ideal occupancy rate in this business is somewhere in the low to mid 70s. And so, when we were at 85% in about 10 years ago, we’re turning away a lot of patients at that point because obviously if we’re averaging 85%, it means that there’s a lot of days when we’re at 90 and 95 and even a 100% occupancy. It also means that because of some of the constraints that we have, we have put male and female patients; we don’t put adults and children together, we don’t certain diagnoses together. So, as a consequence, it’s difficult for facilities to really run at something close to full occupancy.”


Silicon Laboratories Presents at Credit Suisse Technology, Media & Telecom Conference

Tyson Tuttle

Low power for IoT requires innovation

“if you look at the energy efficiency that’s required. If you’re handset only has 10% battery life left, and I know that when mind says 10% battery life, I’m like looking for a charger. But if you imagine that amount of power needs to power an IoT device for five years. So that’s essentially the amount of energy that’s in the little coin cell and they want that device to sense the environment. Let’s say every few minutes it needs to communicate that when something happens. This type of energy consumption requires a lot of innovation. And if so this is what we are focused on doing.”

From a macro perspective, wireless markets suffering but infrastructure business doing well

“I think a lot of people that we are selling into wireless were suffering, especially in China, we were not exposed to that at least on our infrastructure business, we had a little bit of exposure on the microcontroller side and some of the optical modules that did hold back our growth in IoT in the second half. But on infrastructure we see that it’s pretty solid globally. And this is more of a reflection of core network in data center roll outs.”


Barnes & Noble’s (BKS) CEO Ronald Boire on Q2 2016 Results

Have seen increased traffic so far in Q3

“the challenges were greater than anticipated and reduced traffic as well as conversion. During the second quarter, we implemented a significant number of website fixes to increase traffic, improve the overall user experience and stabilize the site. So far during Q3, we have seen increased traffic and have stabilized the site for the holiday season. We plan to implement additional improvements after the holiday season to further upgrade the overall user experience.”


The Cooper Companies’ (COO) CEO Bob Weiss on Q4 2015 Results

Had a bumpy ride from mid September through the end of November

“August was a good month and things dropped off in October a lot, particularly in the U.S. and some of the problems we ran into in Europe exacerbated the most. We thought we’re in pretty good shape in early September, found out we weren’t in as good shape as we thought by mid-September and had a bumpy ride with our integration if you will in Europe, from mid September until pretty much the end of November. Having said that, we had what we call a very respectable November”


Toronto-Dominion Bank’s (TD) CEO Bharat Masrani On Q4 2015 Results

Mark Chauvin

Are starting to see stress in consumer credit portfolios in energy-impacted provinces, but within expectations

“Next, with respect to our oil and gas exposure, we were not surprised by the level of impaired loan formations this quarter. Ongoing analysis indicates that the oil and gas nonretail credit portfolio continues to perform within expectations, given the current level in near-term outlook for commodity prices in this sector. We are beginning to see signs of deterioration in the oil impacted provinces consumer credit portfolios, which again are well within our earlier expectations. Based on ongoing stress tests conducted against the credit portfolios, I remain comfortable that the potential impact of low energy prices on the bank’s credit losses remains well within the range of a 5% to 10% increase over 2015 levels.”

Seeing a gradual increase in delinquency rates over last 4-5 months in oil impacted provinces

“we have been watching it very closely, especially the impacted provinces, which would be Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland. And what we are seeing in two categories, being the indirect auto but the non-prime segment primarily and then in the card segment, we have seen a gradual increase in delinquency rates over the last four or five months.”

Customers affected are early indicator, the type of customer that would be more challenged than the typical customer

“So in many respects we look at that as an early indicator because that would be the customer that maybe would be more challenged than the typical customer. Now, I would stress that these two categories are less than 1% of our total book and that we expected to see losses of this level.”


Sprint’s (S) Management Presents at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Leveraged Finance Brokers Conference

Tarek Robbiati — CFO

Wireless data is much cheaper in some other markets than the US

” I think the – look at the U.S. wireless market, it’s the biggest one in the world by value. And the reason why it is the biggest one in the world by value is because we have 300 million people and you have a very, very high ARPU…when you really look at some of their – the size of their bills, it’s quite extraordinary. I mean you compare this with Hong Kong which is a market that I am very familiar with. In Hong Kong you can get very, very decent data packages on 4G networks for less than $5 postpaid, which is quite extraordinary.”


Comcast’s (CMCSA) Management Presents at UBS Global Media and Communications Conference

Mike Cavanagh–CFO

No new comments on wireless plans. We believe the cheapest way to transmit data is to get it to the hardwire as soon as possible

“we have no news on this topic today. What we have decided is that it’s certainly worth at this point triggering the MVNOs that we can work on exploring what kind of offering we could bring and go deeper to learn and experiment. That’s the state of play on the MVNO. And that sits in the context of having been big believers in WiFi. So, you have seen us invest in and continue to invest in the WiFi as an extension of the value of the broadband pipe, which is still the kind of best and cheapest way to transmit data we believe is to get it to the hardwire as soon as possible. So, with the progress we have made on our WiFi product and broadband, we think it makes complete sense to be exploring on – what possibilities the MVNO offering has to add value to our customer relationships. That’s as much as we know. There is no – it will take time to draw any conclusions from what we are now going through.”


Vail Resorts’ (MTN) CEO Robert Katz on Q1 2016 Results

Our labor markets are tight

“think ensuring that we have enough, ensuring that we are providing the right employee experience, attracting enough of the right labor, retaining labor and then a part of that is obviously being able to have housing for everyone that works here, I think it is probably our number one concern right now in terms of ensuring that we can continue to drive success. And so, I mean that’s led us over the last couple of years to continue to invest to make sure that we can do that. I’d say where we feel right now is that our markets are tight. We think it is a challenge.’

Upper income US remained strong

“Colorado in particular is the strong market, continues to be a strong market given the economy here, Utah, the Bay Area and California so that obviously is the big help right there but then I would say we are seeing pretty broad based strength from all of our major destinations across the United States, I would say even places like Los Angeles, like Seattle which are not typically our strongest markets in terms of size, we’re seeing real strength there too”…

“I would say right now I think the domestic, the U.S. economy on the domestic side is very strong, the upper income portion of that remained strong ‘


AutoZone’s (AZO) CEO Bill Rhodes on Q1 2016 Results

DIY auto spending has benefitted from lower gas prices

“I think clearly we are seeing some industry strength currently. I think a part of that has to do with what’s going on with gas prices. And while gas prices initially went down, you didn’t see the initial correlation with miles driven increasing. But in more recent months, starting really strong in this summer, and continuing through September, the latest date that we have available, it’s showing nice strength. Over long periods of time we’ve seen that has a nice correlation with our DIY industry growth.”


Cisco Systems (CSCO) Presents at Barclays Global Technology Brokers Conference

Hilton Romanski

Customers are looking for a hybrid cloud

“what we’re hearing from customers fundamentally is that they want to see the benefits and the economics of public cloud in their private cloud environment. So that would suggest to us that ultimately there is a hybrid cloud solution out there for enterprises where some of those benefits across multiple types of workloads across their own environments that are private as well as those that are being hosted in a public cloud is going to co-exist.”


Dave & Buster’s (PLAY) CEO Steve King on Q3 2015 Results

Couldn’t be happier with how 2015 is shaping up

“we couldn’t be happier in terms of how 2015 is shaping up, while we’ve achieved so far as we look forward to a strong finish in the fourth quarter.”


Halliburton’s (HAL) Management Presents at Wells Fargo 2015 Energy Symposium Brokers Conference

Christian Garcia — Interim CFO

North America looks like it could be marginally better than expected, but international looks marginally worse

“North America does look like it’s going to be marginally better than what we said in the third quarter call and international looks like it’s marginally worse and in total, we’re in line with our expectations as we left the third quarter.”

2016 is clearly going to be another down year but we don’t know the magnitude yet

“2016 is still opaque. E&P the E&Ps have not announced their budgets, but clearly it’s going to be another down year. The question is the magnitude of the decline.”

Argentina had elections that could lead to positive economic reforms

“Argentina just had elections and we think that new president elect will usher in a new era of economic reforms achieved among that would be probably a potential depreciation of their over valid currency which will in the short term provide some little need to some dislocations but I think in the long term would be actually help that economy boot that economy and would invite for investors.'”


HCA’s Management Presents at Opperheimer 26th Annual Healthcare Broker Conference

Bill Rutherford, Chief Financial Officer

Seeing higher turnover of nurses as demand for nurses strong

“We think you know we are seeing higher turnover of recently than we’ve historically had. And we think there is a lot of other supply in the marketplace and demand for nurses. We’ve got a host of efforts around recruiting. We talked about on our call our efforts to hire nurse graduates and putting them in orientation and onboarding them a little bit differently so that they have — the retention is longer for those new nurses.”

See continued strong economies in the majority of our markets

“We see continued strong economies in the majority of our markets and I think that provides really fundamental momentum for the company and those trends don’t appear quickly, nor do they disappear quickly. So, we are optimistic that our market trends, we are seeing has some durability to it in the future.”


Comerica’s (CMA) CEO Ralph Babb on Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Brokers Conference

Energy reserves at 3% of total energy related loans

“if prices remain low for longer, we expect to see continued negative credit migration and losses to emerge yet we believe they will be manageable. We have increased our reserves for energy loans in each of the past four quarters, as a result of an increase in criticized loans and sustained low energy prices. Because investors have been particularly interested in the size of our energy reserve allocation note that at the end of the third quarter, we had reserves amounting to more than 3% of our total energy and energy related loans.”


U.S. Bancorp (USB) Presents at Goldman Sachs US Financial Services Brokers Conference

CFO, Kathy Rogers

Planning for three interest rate increases in the next 12 months including next week

“as we look out into 2016, I do think that we are seeing an economic environment that is somewhat similar to what we saw this year, may be slightly improved. As we think about the interest environment, we are projecting in our plan, a potential for two interest rate hikes next year, and then December 1 of this year; so a total of three if you look out over the course of the next 12 months.”

Not seeing any deterioration of credit outside of energy

“the simple answer is no. We’re really not. Outside of energy, it’s really relatively benign, no significant change.”

We’ve probably gotten to a point where reserves will start building again (but not necessarily because of credit deterioration)

“I think one of the things that you’re going to see is that we are getting to that point in the cycle where many banks, including ourselves, have enjoyed a nice outcome of reserve releases. And I do think we’re coming to the end of the cycle. And I think that you’ll start to see reserves starting to build as we move out into later quarters.”


Lululemon Athletica’s (LULU) Laurent Potdevin on Q3 2015 Results

Start of Q4 has been mixed

“In line with macroeconomic trends, the start of Q4 has been mixed. We saw lower traffic in the final weeks of Q3 and into the first couple of weeks of Q4, with steady improvement in Thanksgiving. Given the current environment, we’re taking a conservative stance with revenue in Q4, while taking the necessary actions to manage inventory and control expenses.”


Moody (MCO) Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference

Mark Almeida, who is the Head of the Moody’s Analytics Business

November was a good month from an issuance standpoint and December has gotten off to a strong start as well

“November was a good month from an issuance standpoint, and December has gotten off to a pretty good start as well. So I think things have firmed up a bit, since some of the weakness that we saw in the summer time.”


Korn-Ferry’s (KFY) CEO Gary Burnison on Q2 2016 Results

Even in a digital world, it still pays to have people housed in the same location

“I think that creating connectivity of people and clients in an environment of collaboration is incredibly important and although we live in a virtual world, I fundamentally believe that the people need, to the extent possible, need to be housed in the same location.”

Gregg Kvochak

“global demand for our Executive Recruitment services remained strong in the second quarter.”


McGraw-Hill Companies’ (MHFI) CEO Doug Peterson Presents at Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Conference

Issuance is down 30% year to date

“we’ve seen a choppier market, issuance is down during the quarter and year to date overall issuance is down globally about 28% and in the quarter its down again over 30%, 35%, 37%, depending on which element of the markets that you look at. So we’ve seen some volatility in the ratings business.”


Avnet (AVT) Presents at Raymond James Technology & Communications Investors Brokers Conference

Kevin Moriarty, CFO

Our product is service

“Avnet’s product is, our product is service, has been and always will be. Models change the way we get compensated for that service. We need to continue to be nimble and agile to be able to move with that”

We feel pretty good about the environment

“I would characterize the current lead times as stable, short. We haven’t really seen any significant changes in push outs, cancelation rates. So we feel pretty good. EM, we continue to experience growth within our European business. I would characterize the Americas as sluggish overall on the component side.”


ConocoPhillips’s (COP) CEO Ryan Lance on 2016 Capital Budget and Operating Plan

We see dividend as highest priority

“Despite the tough market, our dividend remains the highest priority use of our cash. We view the dividend level as a long-term decision. And we’ve been in the current low price cycle for relatively short period of time”

Capital budget down ~25% from last year, -54% from 2014

“We’re announcing a 2016 capital budget of $7.7 billion that’s $2.5 billion lower than 2015 capital guidance and more than $9 billion lower versus 2014. In setting our budget, we’re flexing capital down appropriately for the price environment without losing opportunities or sacrificing the safety or integrity of our operations.”

Barnes and Noble FY 4Q15 Earnings Call Notes

Spinning off Barnes and Noble Education

“Additionally, as part of the separation and as announced in our press release this morning, we expect that I will be named Executive Chairman of Barnes & Noble Education when the pending spin-off becomes effective.”

The literate world is excite for Go Set a Watchman

“The literate world is anxiously awaiting the publication of Harper Lee’s, Go Set a Watchman. This rediscovered work, which was initially submitted to Ms. Lee’s publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird and was assumed to be lost features the same characters from that book from 20 years later.’

Dr Suess also has a new book

“We’re also very excited about another recently discovered manuscript that will delight an entirely new generation of readers, What pet should I get? It’s a first original Dr. Seuss’ book since 1990 and includes a very — it’s very own full text — his very own, excuse me, full text and illustrations.”

So does literary genius E.L. James

“Also E. L. James surprised all of her fans and book sellers too by announcing her new book Grey, which is a follow-up to her 50 Shade series Instagram, just two and half weeks ahead of its publication date.”

Sales down 9%

“Consolidated sales were $1.2 billion for the quarter and $6.1 billion for the full year. Retail sales decreased 9% to $869 million for the quarter.”

Searching for a CEO of retail after the spin

“. One thing I will say about that as we do have a search and very pleased with the results of that, that search we think it will be successfully completed in the near term.

We’re not to be for some reasons that would not hold up the spin, the retail management team is very strong and that’s not going to be a factor in the timing of the spin.”

Barnes and Noble FY 3Q15 Earnings Call Notes

Spinning off B&N education business

“We also acquired Microsoft’s and Pearson’s NOOK Media interest which helped clear the path for Barnes & Noble Education to separate from our Retail business. On February 26, Barnes & Noble Education filed an S-1 registration statement with the SEC that addresses the separation in detail. We encourage everyone who wants to understand more detail around the proposed separation to review that S-1.”

“Barnes & Noble Education, which currently consists of our College business, is expected to grow both organically through new school contracts and through potential merger and acquisition activity in a fast-growing educational services market.”

1.7% comp increase

“I’m very proud of the efforts of the entire Retail organization that led to a 1.7% core comparable sales increase for the quarter. From our merchants who implemented several initiatives to drive traffic and sales in our stores to our booksellers who were on the frontlines every day to our development team that secured some of the best real estate across the country, everyone has contributed to our improving trends.”

A destination for communities that we serve

” through our one-of-a-kind in-store events, we have further reinforced Barnes & Noble as a destination for the communities that we serve. The team has also prudently managed expenses and improved store productivity despite the declining sales trends over the past several years.”

The company has been working hard to improve sales

“Well, the company has been working hard at improving its sales. We’ve seen the sales trends improve over the last few quarters, mostly driven by merchandising initiatives, which we’ve invested in our stores to drive and turnaround comps. And I think the numbers reflect that.”

Barnes and Noble FY 4Q13 Earnings Call Notes

This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. The quotes are generally pieces of information that I find interesting or helpful to understanding the company, industry or economy and are not meant to provide summaries of the full content of the call. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha.

“With respect to the NOOK segment, the business incurred $475 million EBITDA loss for fiscal year 2013, much higher than our previous expectations. This loss was driven primarily by NOOK inventory-related charges of $222 million, which includes an additional $133 million that the company recorded during the fourth quarter as a result of a shift in strategic direction.”

“we are adjusting our hardware and device strategy to de-risk the NOOK business plan. The company is away — is moving away from independently building our own tablets and intends to partner on future tablet programs with partners to design co-branded tablets with NOOK content.”

“To summarize, we are 100% not exiting the device business, but we are materially adjusting our approach in the competitive and capital-intensive tablet market.”

“The new partnership model on tablets should significantly reduce NOOK losses going forward as we provide ongoing enhancements to our bookstore service and launch new eReaders.”

“On a full year basis, Retail sales declined 5.9% to $4.6 billion. Full year comparable bookstore sales decreased 3.4%”

“the company is currently in the process of finalizing its evaluation of certain prior year financial statement amounts, which may result in a revision to the financial statements.”

“In fiscal 2013, we opened 2 Retail bookstores and closed 18”

“we know this is a sizable change from our existing strategy. It will — the other thing we know is we can sell a lot of tablets through our channels. We’ve got media-hungry consumers. We’ve got millions of them that order from our digital bookstore. And so what we’ve said is we want to capitalize on our design capabilities and work with a third-party to source co-branded tablets that we can sell through our stores and online, connect it to our digital bookstore. Exactly how that work — will work, I don’t have the specifics today. We’re in those discussions now. But what we did know is we want to move away from taking on all that risk ourselves. And as we’ve seen the tablet market, especially in the area we competed in which is sub-8-inch, got extremely competitive, and it was very capital-intensive to build our own tablet. So we have a lot of interested parties that we’re in discussions with. And I know that’s not the exact specific you want, but as I said, you can expect further announcements from us in the future.”

“to provide a little more color on the impact of Fifty Shades, it was worth 4 to 5 points of comp for us last year. It was that big a book.”