Comcast at Goldman Sachs Conference Notes

Brian Roberts

Had the biggest upfront ever

” we had a really biggest upfront I think the company has ever had in this most recent upfront. We sold more upfront up 8% of our inventory than we did a year before. Our price was up. We have said around the same kind of number.”

The ratings decline gets offset by CPM increase

” all-in-all, the ratings decline gets offset by the CPM increase and the total dollars continue to be very stable and that’s critical and that happened again this year and in the scattered market, we’re seeing continued strength there. ”

Are you really getting the value out of the digital platforms that you are saying?

“the more time I spend talking to the advertising folks who take a show, Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or shows that are out in digital in great numbers and many shows are there, and are you getting paid on the Facebook platform, no. And so, and are there advertising getting their value from some of those other platforms for what they say they’re getting versus what they are getting. There is a lot of swirl around those questions. ”

Xfinity mobile offering

“So we’re really pleased with the start. Just to remind everybody. It’s MVNO on the Verizon network. So we’ve a good relationship. It’s working well. You can activate it right away. We’ll ship it to you in 24 hours. You can pick it up. Get it by in a store, and there’s only two plants, really simple product. Maybe the most simple, elegant execution the company has ever had, really great packaging, really simple, $12 a gig or $45 unlimited. That’s it. And when the new products come out like today, I believe we’ll have those products in all our stores and on our digital site, same time as anybody else.”

We paid 1/4 for NBC what AT&T paid for Time Warner

“We have resources that allowed us to buy NBCUniversal when times got tough, more will change. We bought NBC for about $26 billion. People said, buy more stock at that moment. Today AT&T is paying over $100 billion and I think the cash flow with NBCUniversal and Time Warner are pretty comparable.”

Comcast Deutsche Bank Conference Notes

Neil Smit – President and CEO

Still an opportunity in broadband

“Well we’ve put on over a million subs for the past 11 years. And we had the strongest growth in nine years this year at 1.4 million net ads. I think that there is continued room for growth in the broadband space, both the market it’s about 75% penetrated since we see a market opportunity there as well as share growth”

5G requires small cells

“Well 5G is exciting new technology. I think of it as having two components. One is advanced technology primarily in the intended space as well as higher frequency bandwidth. Both of them come with pros and cons. I think with the advanced technology and the antenna it travels the short distances that frequency does and it’s going to require a lot of small cells, lot of space, lot of power, a lot of backhaul. We’ve been doing backhaul for a number of years and we feel pretty good about that business.

With regards to the propagation properties of the higher frequency it doesn’t propagate walls very well, or trees or other obstacles and so we think there is going to be – in order to get it effectively into the home and an antenna is required to be mounted on the house to get the propagation through the house that’s required.

The – we feel good about our network. We’ve had two outside independent experts come in and kind of look at our fiber network plans with and how they all relate with the 5G and we see a lot of compatibility there, excellent compatibility, it’s kind of uncanny. And so we feel good about our plant being able to service the 5G and the growth of our fiber network, we’re bringing fiber deeper everyday in the business services base especially and we think we’ll have one year capacity to service the needs of the 5G technology.”

OTT has had some technical hurdles

‘I think that what we offer is unprecedented quality of service. There been some problems with the releases of some of the OTT technology and our technology is well-developed and established. I think unprecedented quantity of content, we don’t have — we have all the local content, all the live content and 100,000 VOD choices, VOD and X1 is 85% of the customers use it for at least 20 hours a month, so we’re seeing there no holes in the content quantity.”

Happy about conversations around eliminating Title II

“I think an open Internet, net neutrality. We’ve always believed that an open Internet free and open Internet, but I think we didn’t believe the Title II was the way to get there. So I think the conversations around possibly eliminating Title II are positive. The privacy conversations, we always believe that there shouldn’t be too privacy regimes. And so having one-privacy regime would be beneficial.”

We focus on net promoter score

“Well, we accomplished it by getting — it’s really more of a cultural change than anything and getting the whole culture focused on the customer experience we put in one measurement system, Net Promoter System and everyone is measured on that and paid on that including Brian and myself. It focuses on what the customers want and need, and whether they would promote your service to a friend or family, and we also have an employee NPS score, which gets the feedback of the employees who are fundamentally trying to service the customer. So it’s been a real morale lift for the employees.”

Comcast 3Q16 Earnings Call Notes

Comcast (CMCSA) Q3 2016 Results
Brian Roberts

NFL is facing tough ratings comps

“by the way, the NFL, we had an extraordinary season last year, which everybody’s comparing to. We’re actually down versus last year, but down much less versus two years ago. I think it’s very difficult to tell precisely what’s happening on any sporting property, particularly in the case of the NFL because it’s only been a half a dozen weeks. I do think there are a lot of different things that people are using to consuming on the Internet and spending their time on.”

Stephen B. Burke – Comcast Corp.

Advertising market remains strong

So let me just start by saying the advertising market remains very strong. Scatter is as strong as it’s been really in a long time, and that’s a continuation. Really, we’ve had quarter-after-quarter of very strong scatter, and we had a super strong upfront in May.

A lot of work to do to improve audience membership for advertisers

“Well, I don’t think the industry is anywhere near where it needs to be in terms of monetization, and we were talking about the Olympics as a perfect example. Something like 100 million Americans consumed at least part of the Olympics online. It was a huge, huge phenomenon on Snapchat and Facebook and other places. And the inability for us to articulately walk in to an advertiser and talk about all that consumption in an aggregated way is a real problem. And it’s a problem that obviously is going to get solved, but the progress is not as great as it should be. I think what everybody wants is pretty obvious. They want to know what is the total audience delivery of a television show wherever it gets consumed, and they want it to be done by a third party in a way that is objective and quantifiable, and that’s what we’re all working to. I think the world is moving toward C7 from C3. I think the world is moving toward measuring alternative vehicles. And I think most advertisers understand when they buy a hit property, they’re going to get a lot of consumption elsewhere and they sort of factor that in to the effectiveness intellectually, but you’d certainly love for it to be done in a quantifiable way by an unbiased third party and we’re not making enough progress on that.”

Comcast at Bank of America Conference Notes

Stephen Burke – Chief Executive Officer, NBCUniversal & Senior Executive Vice President, Comcast Corp.

We can get the whole company behind major events

“There is a huge benefit in my opinion dealing part of the same company that has Comcast Cable and that benefit is only realized if you work at it and if you have the right kind of relationships. And Neil Smit and I talk all the time and when we have a major event like watching a new movie or television show or theme parks, we use something that we call Symphony which is basically getting the entire company together to get behind the movie like Pets or new attraction like Harry Potter and we have all of the NBCUniversal channels, plus all of Comcast Cable get behind that and the results are tremendous.”

Hardest thing to do in a digital world is break through the clutter

“The hardest thing to do in a fragmented world where the – where people have almost unlimited options to view is to break through the clutter and have a cultural event that takes the country by storm the way a big movie or television show does. And there’s no doubt in my mind that getting everybody together and creating the right kind of environment and including Comcast Cable and their reach is a real benefit.”

Olympics was a financial success

“The ratings were down, there were whole bunch of different reasons why the ratings were down, some of it was because we put programming at the same time on NBC and Prime Time and on USA, NBC Sports Net, Bravo and other channels, we felt that was important to do because there were times when Michael Phelps would be swimming and the US women’s soccer team would be playing in those were both things that people wanted to see. So by our calculation we think you really have to look at total audience delivery, which would include our cable channels streaming and other digital consumption and by that metric we were down single digits versus a very, very successful Olympics, London was the high water point.”

17 days of olympics is essential for advertisers

“So if you’re an advertiser who has a big brand or who wants to change consumer perception those 17 days of the Olympics are almost invaluable, you almost can’t put a price tag on them. And advertisers love the experience in Rio and all the advertisers we talked to can’t wait to come back in Korea and in Japan for the next two Olympics.”

Bundle is the best consumer value proposition

“Well, and this is my personal view, although I did see a research report that kind of was in the same direction, is that OTT sounds like a better business than in reality it is. I mean, that fact is if you want a decent sized bouquet or bundle of cable channels your programming costs are going to be $40, $50, $60, and if your programming cost are $40, $50, $60 you’re going to have a consumer proposition that’s going to be $40, $50, $60 or more. And if you are a consumer that has cable and you get 200 channels, I’m not sure why huge numbers of people are going to run out and get excited about paying $45 for 25 channels, just doesn’t – from a consumer point of view it doesn’t seem to make sense to me.”

People want a combination of reach of television with targetability of digital

“Well, I think what’s happening is advertisers are demanding the reach and scale of television and the target ability of digital and the nirvana for advertisers and for our company is if you could ever have the targetability of digital with television. And we’re working on that, we have Linda Yaccarino has a number of products that allow you to analyze data and overlay target ability because we have all these channels and in some instances using the targetability of Comcast cable to have something that’s truly differentiated and interesting for advertisers. And ultimately I think people want to see the data and targetability of digital fully represented inside television. ”

Comcast at JP Morgan Conference Notes

Mike Cavanagh – Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

W think DWA should do $200m in EBITDA per year

” financially, you think about DreamWorks as a company that making two animated films a year, which is what their capacity is a little more than that, but if that’s what you believe they should do and that was their intention. You look at most analyst reports and say that business with the TV business and other products in there should earn close to $200 million of EBITDA a year. We believe that is well.”

Can cut costs on distribution deal and SG&A

“couple of things that are obvious there on the cost side is there is a distribution deal. So, about $75 million or so a year is what’s paid somewhere else to distribute the films, and in about 2 years’ time, we will take that in and immediately add that to the core earnings power of the company. The other big cost driver is the company today spends about and saw public about $250 million a year on SG&A. So, it really doesn’t make sense to have a public company that makes only two movies a year. So, we will be able to do quite a good job over a period of time to capture synergies there.”

We think we paid a high single digit EBITDA multiple

“So, in our minds, taking those couple of things together turns it into a deal that is high single-digit EBITDA multiple. On top of that, you have got the opportunity for the DreamWorks team did a great job building a TV animation studio, something that Universal has yet to do.”

Sticking to a strategic slate has been key to success of the film business

“film business last year was the first studio ever to have three movies in 1 year do more than $1 billion each in global box office. We crossed – we have $4 billion total of international box office, $6 billion of global box office and again for $1.2 billion of operating cash flow, driven by franchises, so Fast and Furious 7, Fifty Shades, Jurassic World, Minions. And so the theme of the business from 5 years ago when Comcast acquired the business from GE was to really focus on in Steve’s words increasing the ongoing cruising altitude of the business. So what happened was a lot of focus on what’s called strategic slate, so not throwing lots of darts at the wall with similar types of movies because it’s what came through and got green-lighted without deliberation. So much more focused, we are going to make x number of movies a year. We want two of them to be animation. We want two or three tent poles. Each of those cases, we want sequels and one new, mature comedy, etcetera, etcetera. And sticking to a strategic slate framework is a major part of the ongoing sort of change in the business approach.”

Globalizing the marketing side has also been important

“Another big change was globalizing the marketing side of the movie business, taking all of that in instead of having different regions of the world kind of doing their own thing and deciding how many screens and which operators to go with and which markets on which dates, all that’s done globally now out of L.A. And then finally, in an important market like China, we didn’t have people on the ground China 5 years ago, now we have a robust team. We have gone from being represented by third-parties to distributing the movies ourselves.”

Fast 7 did 400m box office in China, which is more than US

“so as an example, Fast and Furious 7 last year did $400 million in box office in China, which is more than it did in the United States. And so the ramping up of those three aspects strategic slate, global marketing and China distribution, are what’s contributed to the story in film.”

Smaller slate of films this year

“you are right. This year, much smaller slate of films in ‘16 versus ‘15 and we are coming off a record year. So we expected this to be a down year relative to a record. We have a start with a weak performance by Huntsman which affects us in the first half of the year, but then we have Bourne 5 and Secret Life of Pets and some other titles coming out in the second half of the year. ”

Sports key, made money on London games

” the importance of sports rights and how in the whole ecosystem, live, big sports events are just a key to engagement both on the advertising side and the importance in the affiliate relationships of wanting to carry channels and the like. So we love the Olympics. We have it at a low cost escalator going from here through 2032.”

There are so many content buyers out there

“there are so many different buyers out there for content. It’s a great time to be a content creator. And you see that for all the reasons we just described.”

We don’t think having owners economics in wireless is interesting to us now

“We don’t think having owners economics in the wireless business today is something that’s interesting to us now if – we reserve the right to have a different view of the future, but as we sit here now, no.”

Comcast 1Q16 Earnings Call Notes

Comcast (CMCSA) Brian L. Roberts on Q1 2016 Results

The balance between content and distribution shifts back and forth over time

“As to the relative value, these things evolve and go up and down, and the relationship between the two in terms of carriage disputes and other things, they’re both great businesses. And that was our fundamental premise all along. I think I first learned that being on Ted Turner’s board when Comcast was purely a cable company. It’s a worldwide business, it grows all (25:00) in different ways, but they’re in the same sort of system where together, the value tends to head in the same direction. And at any one time, one part of the ecosystem can be doing better than another part of the ecosystem, but in the end, we’re bringing great experiences to consumers. You need their content, you need innovative distribution technologies, and that’s how we’re running our company. And I hope that’s responsive to your question.”

I think there’s been a big shift to recognize that TV is still an important part of a marketing campaign

“So regarding the upfront, let me talk a little bit about the market. A year ago, a lot of advertisers pulled back and didn’t spend as much in the upfront. I think part of the thinking was we can always spend later and there’s plenty of places to spend our money on digital. I think the emotion of the market has swung pretty dramatically over the last year. I think people have come to the realization that broad television reach is really important in a campaign that digital has a place but television has a big place. And a lot of people, I think, who did not come into the upfront market last year paid significantly more in what has been one of the strongest scatter markets I’ve ever seen. So in terms of market dynamics, we’re going into the upfront season, I think, with a lot of wind at our back, and my prediction is that it’s going to be a strong upfront.”

Haven’t seen much change in cord cutting, cable is still a good business

“So, in terms of cord cutting, cord shaving, we don’t see much change at all. The numbers you – the 2% you talked about is not far off from what we’re seeing, and some of it is shaving and some of it is cutting. And the interesting thing about the Cable Network business is the overall resiliency. If you look at the affiliate stream and the advertising stream and the desire for advertisers to buy broadly-distributed, highly-rated cable channels being stronger than ever. So, as a business, it’s not going to grow – we’ve said before and we’ll say again, it’s not going to grow the way it did 10 years ago. But it’s still a good business for us, and we don’t see any major change, in terms of what’s going on with sub trends.”

It’s getting tougher to get ratings in broadcast, but when you do you get rewarded

” I would not have predicted this 10 or 20 years ago but it feels like Broadcast is getting stronger and stronger in this period. We have to keep putting good shows on and it’s tougher and tougher in a fragmented world to get a rating. But when you do, you do get – you get rewarded for it significantly.”

Neil Smit – President & Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Cable & Senior Executive Vice President

5G still in very early days, but looks like propagation distance is fairly short. We think we’re well positioned

“Let me speak to that. 5G is an exciting new platform, and it’s still in the very early days. We think that the propagation distance is fairly short, about 300 foot radius. The antennas are going to need space and power and backhaul, and it has – the spectrum doesn’t really pass through objects like trees and buildings very well. But we think we’re very well-positioned, because we have space and power and backhaul, as well as a field force to be able to install all the antennas and maintain the services and provide the backhaul that would be required. So we’re going to continue to monitor, it’s still a way – early in the game, and we feel well-positioned.”

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.”

Miscellaneous Earnings Call Notes 10.29.15

E*TRADE Financial (ETFC) Paul Thomas Idzik on Q3 2015 Results

There’s a big penalty for a bank when it crosses $50B in assets in the form of greater regulatory spending

“as I said many times in previous calls when this topic comes up, none of our owners are going to reward us by tiptoeing over $50 billion and incurring all the costs and distraction. If we go over $50 billion, it will be when Mr. Pizzi and I and the rest of the team are confident that it’s going to make sense for our owners.”


Volvo’s (VOLVY) CEO Martin Lundstedt on Q3 2015 Results

We see a strong year for trucks in North America

“Trucks North America, we can say that North America – when we start with the macroeconomic view on North America, I think we see the same thing as many other people see. It is a solid growth also for next year, so we don’t see any kind of other things in North America compared to what most, I would say, macroeconomic people see.”

Brazil is probably not coming back for two years

“I think that also one should recognize that Brazil is most probably not going to come back into some kind of high growth or anything like that for – I would say don’t anticipate that for the next coming two years at least because Brazil has to go through quite a lot of things. We don’t see the boom in terms of raw material prices. And not only prices, also the demand is actually coming down and that was very much what fueled the economy in Brazil.”


Whirlpool’s (WHR) CEO Jeff Fettig on Q3 2015 Results

Currencies have experienced a global reset

“Given the significant economic shocks this year, we believe that currencies have experienced a global reset, and we are prepared to operate this changed environment going forward.”

Europe is a split market

“On Europe, again it’s a split market, if you want to say. But Eastern European market demand continues to be very slow and very much down, which is driven by Russia and Ukraine…The western side, on the other side, I would say its stronger than anticipated. The most markets are in a very healthy and robust phase.”

China -4% right now

“China has been slower in terms of market events than we expected, kind of coming into the year. Its at around minus 4% right now, and for that market, it’s a big decline, although in general terms its not and we don’t think that it should have a significant impact on our business”


State Street (STT) Joseph L. Hooley on Q3 2015 Results

It’s certainly a positive that markets have rebounded month to date

” it’s certainly a positive that markets have rebounded month-to-date here in October. I would point out just for completeness that emerging markets now are pretty close on a month-to-date basis back to the third quarter average. They had really dipped in late September, and what’s particularly important to us is the average over the whole quarter. So I would – I’d hesitate to try to claim any kind of victory based on the first three weeks of October, and obviously we’ve got another couple months to go. But I would agree with you that it’s certainly been helpful to see the equity market positive news on the first three weeks of the month.”


Royal Caribbean Cruises’ (RCL) CEO Richard Fain on Q3 2015 Results

Bookings are strong even in China

“The Caribbean and China which makes up approximately two thirds of capacity are significantly more booked than last year at higher rates. The strength of these two products is more than offsetting continued pressure in Latin America.”

Our feelings are good about China

” our feelings are good about how we see China. We think the opportunity is still very, very strong. So that’s kind of our perspective on China.”


Bank of Hawaii’s (BOH) CEO Peter Ho on Q3 2015 Results

CRE has been the headliner for loan growth but we are pretty mature in the cycle, and our core relationships will probably begin to pull back

“all of our lending categories are performing very well right now. So CRE has been the headliner for a good amount of time. It continues to be through the third quarter and we think we still have some space left in this cycle for continued growth. Having said that, we are pretty mature in both the commercial and in particular the commercial real estate cycle and really what you are likely to see is as our core relationships begin to pull back in light of pricing in the marketplace, you will likely see us doing the same.”

Consumer lending strong

“on the other consumer side, home-equity and indirect and installment and credit card, those portfolios are growing very nicely for us. And really, I think a reflection of what’s happening with the economy here in town.”


Comcast’s (CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts on Q3 2015 Results

Comcast venturing into wireless service

“we believe that wireless obviously is an important area for consumers and how they are in the future. And today, we have incredible success with our Wi-Fi network, which is the largest in-home Wi-Fi network, as well as a terrific out of home Wi-Fi, we’re seeing a majority of bits travel over the Wi-Fi network. But it takes about six months to activate the MVNO. We’ve had told everybody that before, we were going to trial some things and test some things after we activate and we’ll update people as that progresses.”


Ford Motor’s (F) CEO Mark Fields on Q3 2015 Results

We are seeing stabilization in China

“just a couple comments on the China industry, we are seeing stabilization and as Bob mentioned we do expect to lift from the stimulus package. And as he mentioned we are seeing showroom traffic improve, we are seeing closing ratios improve and unquestionably we see this as a really good opportunity, because 70% of our sales have the engines that are eligible for the stimulus.”

Expect stronger for longer in the US

“We would characterize the U.S. industry as healthy and borrowing any type of shock whether it would be economic or policy related. We do see industry sales staying well supported at the current levels through the next few years or in other words we expected to be stronger for longer.”

The industry is going to have to do a lot of work to increase fuel efficiency by the end of the decade

“if you look 2019 and 2020 I mean I think there’s a lot of work the whole industry is got to do at that point in time in response to your compliance particularly around the machines and fuel economy, but I think we feel good about where we are up until 2019, but then there is a sort of a step level increase and we are all going to have to continue to work on particularly with more electrification that’s going to be required in that timeframe.”


Coach (COH) Victor Luis on Q1 2016 Results

We’re bucking the trend of a weak environment in China

“In terms of China, as you mentioned, we’re really pleased to be bucking the trends that many of our traditional competitors are reporting…our team is managing our brand incredibly well in what is of course a very turbulent environment, not only with the exchange rate fluctuations and the impact on traffic into Hong Kong and Macau, but also the domestic stock market gyrations which are now very well-publicized.”


PACCAR’s (PCAR) CEO Ron Armstrong on Q3 2015 Results

European outlook continues to improve

“The European economic and truck market outlook continues to improve. GDP growth expectations for this year are 2.6% in the UK, which is PACCAR’s strongest market in the region, GDP growth is also accelerating on the continent…We expect the strong market conditions to extend into next year.”


Simon Property Group’s (SPG) CEO David Simon on Q3 2015 Results

Bankruptcies in 2015 but better comps than expected

“We are obviously had a lot more bankruptcies in ’15 than we did in ’14 and the other impact we’ve had on the negative side is that we’ve lost certain amount of percentage rent from the outlet business because of the fact that the strong dollar has also heard tourism shopping and we’ve seen that impacted more in the outlet business, the outlet tourists centers then we had in the mall business. The mall comp sales have been a better than our expectations and our leading portfolio in terms of that.”


Applied Industrial Technologies (AIT) Neil A. Schrimsher on Q1 2016 Results

October declined from September

“I mean we had a weakness in July, some expected. That continued through August. And off of that lower base, September probably came in modestly positive. As we look month-to-date through October, I’d say sequentially, it’s around 2% decline that we would see off that period”


CBRE Group’s (CBG) CEO Bob Sulentic on Q3 2015 Results

Our strongest growth is in Europe

“we are not seeing a lot of pressure. I would tell you where we are seen the strongest growth is in Europe. You saw the results this quarter, we expect that continue, but we saw good growth in places where people did not necessarily expected. In Greater China, we had nice growth. In Australia, we did, so we have not felt a lot of meaningful pressure at this point and the backlogs of business we have suggest that year should finish out nicely for us.”

Not seeing any deals die because of lack of capital

“From what we have seen, there is sufficient capital from other sources to step in. As I mentioned earlier, we have been anticipating that the rate of growth in sales will come down to a more sustainable level and we still believe that that is likely to be the case, but we are not seeing deals die basically because of a lack of capital”


Mondelez International (MDLZ) Irene B. Rosenfeld on Q3 2015 Results

13 percentage point currency headwind

” Based on current spot rates, we estimate currency to have a negative 13 percentage point impact for the year, a little more than our previous estimate of a 12-point impact”

The European retail environment is challenging

“the European retail environment is challenging. And I think we have been able to hold our own quite well. They’re interested in some of the very same things that our retailers around the world are interested in: what’s happening in health and wellness, what’s happening on the innovation front. And as long as we continue to drive traffic to their stores, we’re an important partner.”


AGCO (AGCO) Martin H. Richenhagen on Q3 2015 Results

Another robust harvest putting pressure on farm economics

“Another year of robust global harvest is putting pressure on commodity prices, and more challenging farm economics has reduced demand for agricultural machinery, especially for larger models.”

Argentina has increased import allowances

“the biggest export market outside of Brazil, or the market that we ship the equipment from Brazil to, is Argentina. And as you’re aware, the last few years they’ve had import restrictions that has really reduced sales in that market. This year, though, there has been some increase to those import and import allowances.”


Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Stefano Pessina on Q4 2015 Results

Global healthcare markets are ready for change through scale

“The global healthcare markets, and perhaps the U.S. market more than any, are ready for change, and open to new ideas and new approaches that throughout provide scale. As the leading global healthcare company, we have the potential to play a defining role in this evolution.”

We’re not doing the RAD deal to increase our negotiating power with the payer and PBM

“Well, we have not done this to increase our negotiating power with payer and PBM. We have done this because we believe that we can extract a lot of synergies, rationalizing the combined company for, I would say, from internal sources and the harmonization of prices”

This deal will not reduce competition because we’re in an environment with lots of competition

“at the end of the day we are in an environment where the margins are decreasing. So it was decreasing. We are in an environment where there is a lot of competition. And the fact that we put together two companies will not reduce the competition – not just the competition among pharmacies.”


Macerich’s (MAC) Management on Q3 2015 Results

Apparel sales are struggling with lack of a distinct fashion trend

“On the negative side, apparel sales are only showing modest sales per square foot gains, if they struggle with a lack of a distinct fashion trend increasing competition from large format retailers and sluggish consumer settlement”

We anticipate bankruptcies will likely be comparable or higher than in previous years

“Looking towards the end of the year, we are anticipating that bankruptcies are likely to be comparable or higher than in previous years. Many of these retailers are public companies and based on their current stock prices the markets are pricing in a significant risk of bankruptcy. Contrary to the previous year, we are expecting less store closing as part of the bankruptcies as many of the retailers are prime candidates for restructuring with a smaller store base. Again, we believe the lower quality centers will be disproportionately impacted.”

Chains will use bankruptcy to their advantage to reduce store count

‘these chains will use bankruptcy potentially to reduce their store count.Outside of bankruptcy it’s more difficult, because the landlords will typically require some buyout or compensation and many of the companies have not – there’s been very few examples where companies have been successful doing that.”


Manitowoc (MTW) Kenneth W. Krueger on Q3 2015 Results

Deteriorating demand for tower cranes

“our third quarter results were disappointing, as deteriorating demand for tower cranes in the Middle East and Asia coupled with lower than anticipated all-terrain and crawler crane shipments, all contributed to the shortfall in revenues. The current global economic environment affecting customer demand is unlike any cycle we’ve seen in the recent past. Uncertainty among our customers is mounting due to emerging market peers, ongoing question over Chinese growth outlook, persistent depressed oil prices and slowing domestic growth. ”

The third quarter was one of the most difficult operating environments in recent memory

“The third quarter proved to be one of the most volatile and difficult operating environments in recent memory. Manitowoc has weathered many economic cycles and our team has proven its ability to manage the business without compromising our competitive position in the marketplace. This cycle should be no different.”


Delphi Automotive Plc (DLPH) Q3 2015 Results

China was significantly weaker than expected, but we are now starting to see a pickup in orders

“we’re real optimistic. We’re still optimistic about China. For the third quarter, it was significantly weaker than what we originally estimated. If you recall, our outlook was China up about 3.5% or 4% in the third quarter; ended up actually being down 9%. So it was very fluid. For the fourth quarter, our original outlook was China volume up roughly 5%. Current outlook is basically down a point. However, when we look at sequentially third to fourth quarter, we are starting to see a pickup in orders, a strengthening in the market, sequential growth in vehicle production”


The New York Times (NYT) Mark J. T. Thompson on Q3 2015

NYT exploring ways to deal with ad blockers

“Now ad blockers have been much in the news perhaps this is a good moment to give our perspective on that topic. As you know the Times’ digital subscription revenue stream means that we are significantly less expose the most publishers to the impact of ad blockers. Nonetheless, let me make it clear that we oppose ad blocking. The creation of quality news content is expensive and digital advertising is an important way in which we and other high-quality news providers fund news gathering operations. We are exploring a number of options including but not limited to technical solutions to mitigate the impact of ad blockers should the threat increase.”

Strength in luxury, technology advertising

“We’ve seen in Q3, and I think this will continue in Q4 real briskness in the luxury business. We saw real briskness in Q3 in the technology business. I think that will continue. And then there are other categories like retail where we just have less visibility and where there tends to be more volatility.”

We are a journalism play

“we are a journalism play. We are a news and features and opinion provider with multiple platforms, and we’re very interested in the synergies between the platforms. ”


BorgWarner’s (BWA) CEO James Verrier on Q3 2015 Results

Lowering sales guidance thanks to weakness in China and global commercial vehicle markets

“Our reported sales growth is now expected to be between minus 6% at the low end and minus 5% at the high end. This is compared with minus 5.5% to minus 2.5% previously. The change in our sales growth guidance is primarily related to two things. The impact of weaker than expected market conditions in China on our business and weak commercial vehicle markets around the world.”


JS Earnings Call Notes 10.27.2015 – Roper, Comcast, IAC, Dupont, Waste Management, WR Berkley

Roper (ROP) CEO Brian Jellison said it may not look like it from the outside but under the surface, the company is moving very quickly

“if you look at the income statement, we are sort of laughing, because it’s the old story about the ducks on the pond and they are moving along nicely, but underneath, these are moving wildly.”

Roper (ROP) CEO Brian Jellison reminded investors of the company’s emphasis on cash flow

“The compounding of cash flow, if there is any theme around here, it would be that. We are in base, a compounder.”

Seeing strength in nuclear test business after several years of lackluster revenue in the segment

We had strong growth in our nuclear test business on improving market conditions. There is a good deal of activity that’s emerging, both in China and Korea based opportunity in the Middle East, and startups again in Japan for their nuclear activity. So that’s going to be a material improvement for us in the fourth quarter, and into 2016.“   

Roper (ROP) CEO Brian Jellison is excited about their acquisition of a software company called Aderant

Aderant has a really end-to-end platform of mission critical software, that primarily goes to law firms now, but could be expanded to other professional services organizations.  It has 3,000 of the world’s largest law firms and professional services organizations, and they really do a full suite of activity, all the way from time capturing and billing to docketing.  If you look at our acquisition criteria on the right, you will see it has got an excellent management team. In fact, we are retaining everyone.  Over 95% customer retention, strong cash flow characteristics, asset life, well once again, negative working capital, so people pay us in advance for work that we are going to eventually perform.”

Roper (ROP) CEO Brian Jellison said they are seeing heavy competition from Private Equity firms for deal flow 

There has been a lot of stuff for sale, but there is always a lot of stuff in the pipeline.  People are going to start to worry about their exit multiples versus what their entrance multiples order. So I think everybody is wondering about what their exit time ought to be, if it should be moved up. But boy, the guys that we work with and talk to all the time, I mean, they are still deploying capital like crazy.  So you see them making big bets with very high trailing multiples at least, for what they hope will be able to grow into.”

 

 

 

 

Comcast (CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts said the movie segment of the media conglomerate had an excellent quarter  

At film, the third quarter was remarkable in many ways and continued the terrific run we’ve had this year. Minions and Jurassic world sustained our box office streak into the third quarter.  On August 5, we surpassed the prior record for the highest grossing year ever for a movie studio in worldwide box office. And this is the first time any studio has had three films crossed the $1 billion mark and theatrical receipts in the same year.”

Comcast (CMCSA) CFO Michael Cavanagh said the company is experimenting with cable & internet packages at different price points

A final comment on video, we are responding to different customer preferences, segmenting the market effectively with a variety of video packages and offers, like our Internet Plus offering to appeal to customers that might otherwise choose to purchase only broadband from us. Providing the right introduction to our products allows us to better retain our customers and potentially migrate them to higher end packages over time, improving our customer lifetime value.”

As you might expect in an era of emphasis on the digital age, broadband internet customer acquisition was strong

“The strong momentum in our high-speed data business continued. Revenue increased 10.2% during the quarter, making it again the leading contributor to overall cable revenue growth, driven by impressive growth in our customer base, as well as rate adjustments, and an increasing number of customers taking higher-speed services. We added a combined 320,000 data customers during the quarter with 73% of our customers now receiving speeds of 50 megabits per second or greater.”

Their venture capital arm has made investments in next generation content platforms

As we talked about the millennials, we talk also about NBC and investments in Vox and BuzzFeed and the ability to now hopefully have advertising that can take some of our content and their content and bring it to advertisers.”

 

 

 

 

IAC (IACI) CEO Joey Levin said ad blockers aren’t affecting the companies advertising business as much as many had feared

“On mobile it has been negligible. I think, we would see less than 1%-type impact. On desktop, we see an impact maybe measuring something in the teens, not accelerating, but the probably somewhere in the teens impact.  I think, we under indexed towards relative to the general internet on ad blocking. I think partially, because we drive lot of traffic through advertising. By definition if we acquire the user through an app, then they are going to see an ad when they get to our site, also because just our demographic is less likely to be adopting ad blockers.  The industry has to pay a lot of attention to and the solution is going to be adjustments in ads, better ads.”

And their video site, Vimeo, continues to gain subscribers

On Vimeo, the business today is substantially weighted toward subscription, but VOD business is growing much faster and growing very nicely. It is still small, but it is growing very nicely. If I look at many years, I see VOD being a, whether it is transactional VOD or subscription VOD, I see VOD being a huge portion of that business if we are doing things right over time. It is just a massive market and I think given our structure we ought to be able to take a piece of that.”

With the upcoming IPO of subsidiary Match.com, CEO Joey Levin explained the company’s stance on spinning off companies

Most companies, when they have a business like Match.com, and or businesses like we have had in the past which are leaders and their categories and doing very well, they hold on to those businesses. Our philosophy is when you get those businesses and when they reach that level of scale and when they have that sort of independence that we give them their own currency and set them up on their own and because we think that generally best for shareholders.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Dupont (DD) CEO Ed Breen, who broke up Tyco last decade, comes to Dupont with a mindset to improve the company’s focus and returns while potentially reducing capital expenditures

“I think we can have a better rigor around our return metrics across all of our products and platforms and programs that we’re working on. So we’re clearly on instituting that. So I don’t just highlight that to R&D. I think that’s across the board on how we spend on CapEx and certainly R&D is a big piece of that, but it’s across the board. I think more rigor around R&D is needed. Having said that, R&D is one of the great strength this company, but more rigor around that and that process I think could be very helpful for us and we’re starting to put some more of that in place.”

And he’s predicting consolidation in the sector

“Having said that, I’m not naive about what’s going on in the ag space right now. I do think at some point there’s consolidation here that will occur. You saw some other announcements just this week from others. And so we need to be very cognizant of that.  I am personally talking to the CEOs of some of the other companies. Something will give here on the ag side and I would say just looking at it consolidation should happen.”

New Dupont (DD) CEO Ed Breen cited some key characteristics as to what sets the company apart

here are so many great things here and I told the employees that were really working off a very solid foundation. First of all I’ve been in many companies and the one thing I can say is the employees are really dedicated. As I said in my prepared comments, they want to win. So there is a great spirit here and a great drive and you can’t make up for that.  Obviously this is a great science and R&D company and a lot of great things come through that. And this company is also very focused on its customers with an extensive global sales force that really is very impressive. So that’s a great foundation to have. The areas where I think there’s improvement needed are more operational. At this point time anyway especially with the environment we’re in, I think there’s a nice opportunity on the cost side.”

And he wants to make the company significantly more competitive and agile by reducing costs

also think from a CapEx standpoint we’ve been spending around $1.5 billion a year. I think that number is too high. We’ve pretty much zeroed in on what our numbers going to be for 2016.  that gets back to a rigor around returns on invested capital and what programs really makes sense which ones are marginal. And we’re going to do a lot that have great returns with them. And I’d say the other area where there’s improvement needed is working capital.”

 

 

 

 

Waste Management (WM) CEO David Steiner likened the switching dynamics in the waste disposal industry to the cable industry

And so, I always liken it to the cable companies. We all get a flyer every week that offers us lower price for cable. There’s probably a lot of people that accept that and say, let’s take it every time we can get it. But 90% of the folks say, you know what, the cost of changing out is too high, so I’ll accept the fact that this price might be a little bit higher, but I’ll accept it because the pain of switching is too high, until the cable starts going out or the satellite dish starts going out. And then all of a sudden, that price offer looks pretty attractive.”

And they put computers on each of their trucks which will help improve efficiency and route optimization

“over the last few years, we put on-board computers in all of these trucks. And I would tell you, we’re only kind of at halftime with respect to using the onboard computer to its fullest capability. For example, we can route our trucks dynamically. But that doesn’t do any good unless the driver follows the route that the computer generates, and we’re only following that route – if you think about best-in-class, a FedEx or a UPS probably follows the route 95% or 97% of the time. We’re kind of about 80% of the time. So, while that may seem like, pretty good, and it is okay, that last 15 to 20 percentage points is worth a lot of money.”

Waste Management (WM) CEO David Steiner said they are open to an energy waste deal if the prices is right even though they aren’t currently actively looking for a deal in the space 

On the energy services side, I’d tell you that if we were to do a deal in energy services, we’d do an opportunistic deal. We are not actively looking to go out and expand our footprint dramatically in the energy services businesses like we have been in the past. But if we can find some deals that are opportunistic and at the right price, we certainly think that long-term, energy services is going to be a good line of business. It’s not going to be a good line of business for the next year or two. So we’ve got to see something on the long-term horizon at an opportunistic price, if we’re going to invest in energy services.”

They have had to give price concessions to some of their customers in the energy space

Yeah. I mean they’ve come back to us over the last, probably 12 months, and asked for the price concessions. In some cases we’ve made some price concessions, in some cases we haven’t. It’s as much of as anything a function of where our assets are relative to the drilling that’s taking place. But certainly there has been some real pressure in that business, and that’s why our revenue will be down probably 30% for the year.”

 

 

 

 

Incoming W.R. Berkley CEO (WRB) Robert Berkley described where they are finding attractive places to deploy capital and places they are staying away from 

“As far as the domestic insurance market goes, as we’ve said over the past couple of quarters, workers’ compensation, general liability and many of the professional lines remain very attractive and we think are sensible places to be deploying additional capital. On the other hand, aviation, much of the marine market, cat-exposed property as well as offshore energy are product lines that we are increasingly concerned about and do not see a lot of rational behavior in those parts of the market.”
And they’re finding more competition in their international markets 
“Moving onto the international market, it is a bit more competitive; no different that it’s been in the past few quarters. One of the things that we’ve seen over the past few years has been many organizations have been looking to increase their footprints in some of the international markets that we have been operating in have become more and more crowded.  And the international insurance markets tend to be a bit more dependent on the reinsurance markets and that is due to the fact that much of the international market uses much larger limits on a day to day basis than we typically see in the middle and small commercial market in this country.”
The reinsurance market is extremely competitive 
“On the topic of reinsurance, certainly again a topic we’ve discussed with you all in the past, the marketplace remains exceptionally competitive. Having said that, it would seem as though the pace of competition seems to be not moving or increasing as quickly as it has over the past several quarters. I don’t think that we’ve necessarily touched bottom, but it would seem as though we continue to get closer as again the pace of erosion is slowing.  we do believe that capacity is becoming more and more commodity with every passing day and ultimately it boils down to the expertise that you can bring from a value perspective to your clients and focusing on clients that actually do value expertise and don’t just deal with commodity.”
Lower interest rates on their bonds hurt their investment income
“Turning to investment income, our investment income was $133 million this quarter, compared with $179 million in the third quarter of 2014. Earnings from our core portfolio including arbitrage trading declined 8% to $110 million, due primarily to lower reinvestment rates available for maturing bonds. The average bond yield for the first nine months of 2015 was 3.3%, down 0.2% from 3.5% in 2014.”
They don’t focus on GAAP accounting results but rather risk adjusted returns 
“These are especially interesting times. We really do focus on risk adjusted return. It means, we do some things that some of our competitors don’t do. We don’t focus truly on accounting results, because we’re focused on creating shareholder value more than reported earnings per se. That means, we start businesses instead of buying them, because that’s a better economic return; it’s not a better accounting statement return.”

 

Comcast at Goldman Sachs Conference Notes

Brian Roberts – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Mike Cavanagh – Chief Financial Officer

We’ve got part of our business that’s going through a lot of change

“we have got a portion of our business that’s obviously going through and we will get into it today, lots of change, the change that’s going on in the ecosystem broadly that’s got everybody worried over the past months around pay-TV and millennials and what that means for cable networks, to pay-TV distribution and advertising. But as we’ll talk about, I love Brian saying the future isn’t written in concrete.”

Our broadband business isn’t impacted by those trends

” there is the preponderance of the company that isn’t touched by those trends that actually benefits in many ways from some of those trends. And that’s our broadband business”

We’ve almost doubled the cash flow of NBCu in 4.5 years

” I think we are approaching doubling the cash flow since we announced the acquisition on, in case of Universal, a 100-year-old business and in NBC and the other parts of the company, 50-year-old business that we have doubled the cash flow in 4.5 years.”

Our film business may be having the best year in the history of hollywood

“let’s start with the film business. We are having, as you have read this summer, the best year in the history of Universal, maybe the best year in the history of Hollywood.”

The X1

” I am enjoying my new X1 in my house in Philadelphia. It is a different kind of experience than I have ever had before in cable TV. And when you convert it to the numbers you have heard before, but now that I have been getting under the covers and really looking at the data around customer segmentation and what we are seeing because we have got some great people working for Neil on that score. Churn for our triple play customers is down 30% for people that use X1 versus those that don’t. ”

Going to be able to recapture more analog and digital bandwidth and apply it to broadband

” We started in the broadband business using one cable TV channel. And there was a time prior to that, that if you wanted to go from 30 channels to 50 channels or 80 channels that there is big debate internally and if you go out and tear down the wire and put up a whole new wire. And one day, we put a lot of fiber out. And now you can extend that fiber deeper. You can go from 1 channel to 4 channels to 8 channels, maybe some day to 80 channels. It doesn’t matter. There is a roadmap as television goes more IP. And you reclaim analog and digital bandwidth and apply it to broadband. We have a roadmap where we recently have announced we are going to go to 2 gigabits a second in certain locations.”