Pass sales, real estate transactions, revenues increase significantly for Vail Resorts in fourth quarter

By Real Vail
September 27, 2013
Vail Resorts, Inc. on Friday reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended July 31, 2013 and provided its outlook for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2014.

Highlights

* Resort Reported EBITDA increased 17.3% to $240.9 million for fiscal 2013, compared to the prior fiscal year. This includes incremental EBITDA of $5.5 million from the acquisitions of Kirkwood and the Urban ski areas, and $7.6 million of EBITDA losses related to the Canyons transaction, including transaction and transition costs on the acquisitions and Canyons transaction (the Canyons transaction, together with the acquisitions, referred to collectively as the "Acquisitions"). Excluding the Acquisitions, Resort Reported EBITDA increased 18.4% to $242.9 million.
* Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. increased 129.4% to $37.7 million for fiscal 2013, compared to the prior fiscal year.

Excluding the Acquisitions:
* Total Mountain net revenue increased 9.3% for fiscal 2013 compared to the prior fiscal year.
* Mountain Reported EBITDA increased 16.5% for fiscal 2013 compared to the prior fiscal year.
* During fiscal 2013, we closed on ten Ritz-Carlton Residence units, twelve One Ski Hill Place units and a land sale in Breckenridge. Net Real Estate Cash Flow for fiscal 2013 was $27.5 million.
* Sales of season passes through September 22, 2013 for the upcoming 2013/2014 ski season were up approximately 19% in units and approximately 23% in sales dollars versus the comparable period in the prior year. Based on historical patterns, approximately 55% to 60% of our total sales are made by this date.

Commenting on the Company's fiscal 2013 results, Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer said, "We are very pleased with our performance this fiscal year. We reported record Resort revenue and Resort EBITDA that reflects higher overall visitation, improved pricing, increased average guest spend and strong pass sales. We generated significant real estate net cash flow driven by the increasing strength in resort real estate markets. We were successful in our acquisition strategy during fiscal 2013, completing our transaction for Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah and acquiring Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan. We also launched the initial activities for Epic Discovery on Vail Mountain and made continued progress in the approval process for our broader summer plans across our resorts. Finally, we increased the number of mountains available on our Epic Pass from 12 during the 2012/2013 ski season to 26 for the 2013/2014 ski season and added resorts in Austria and France, truly creating a global offering."

Katz added, "Total Mountain net revenue increased 13.2% for fiscal 2013. This was driven by a 13.6% increase in total skier visits, driving a $48.3 million, or 14.1%, increase in lift revenue compared to prior year. Lift revenue, excluding season pass revenue, increased $36.4 million, or 17.6%, and season pass revenue increased $11.9 million, or 8.8% compared to prior year. Our ancillary businesses also performed well reflecting improvements in consumer spending that resulted in higher spending per guest. Relative to prior year, fiscal 2013 dining revenue increased 18.7%, ski school revenue increased 13.0%, and retail/rental revenue increased 9.7%."

Regarding Lodging, Katz said, "Our Lodging segment benefited from improved summer visitation and increased winter demand during peak holiday periods at our resorts. Total Lodging net revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements) for fiscal 2013 increased $12.2 million, or 6.5%, to $200.1 million, as compared to the prior fiscal year. Our owned hotels and managed condominiums, excluding Canyons, benefited from improved Average Daily Rate ("ADR") and revenue per available room ("RevPAR"), which increased 1.7% and 6.4%, respectively."

Turning to our real estate business, Katz commented, "We are very pleased with the increased level of sales activity at both of our development projects. For fiscal 2013, we closed on twelve One Ski Hill Place units and ten Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail units. Additionally, during fiscal 2013 we closed on the sale of 2.1 acres of land at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort's Peak 8 for $11.1 million and recognized a gain on the sale of $6.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Net Real Estate Cash Flow for fiscal 2013 was $27.5 million, exceeding our revised guidance of $23 million to $27 million issued in June 2013."

Katz continued, "Our balance sheet continues to be very strong. We ended the quarter with $138.6 million of cash on hand, an increase of $92.6 million from July 31, 2012, and no borrowings under the revolver of our senior credit facility. Our Net Debt was 2.8 times trailing twelve months Total Reported EBITDA which includes $306.3 million of capitalized long-term obligations associated with the Canyons transaction. I am also very pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend on Vail Resorts' common stock. The quarterly dividend will be $0.2075 per share of common stock and will be payable on October 24, 2013 to shareholders of record on October 9, 2013."

Operating Results

A complete Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations can be found in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The following are segment highlights:

Mountain Segment

* Total Skier Visits for fiscal 2013 increased to 7.0 million, from 6.1 million in fiscal 2012, a 13.6% increase.
* Lift revenue excluding the Acquisitions and excluding season pass holders, increased $26.4 million in fiscal 2013, or 12.8%, compared to the prior fiscal year.
* Effective Ticket Price ("ETP") excluding season pass holders, and excluding the Acquisitions, increased $4.94 in fiscal 2013, or 6.7% over the prior fiscal year.
* Mountain Reported EBITDA for fiscal 2013 increased $29.8 million, or 15.0% to $228.7 million compared to the prior fiscal year. Excluding the Acquisitions, Mountain Reported EBITDA for fiscal 2013 increased $32.7 million or 16.5% over the prior fiscal year.
* Mountain Reported EBITDA includes $9.0 million and $7.6 million of stock-based compensation expense for fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2012, respectively.

Lodging Segment

* Lodging segment net revenue was $211.0 million for fiscal 2013 compared to $210.6 million for the prior fiscal year, a 0.2% increase. Excluding payroll cost reimbursements related to managed hotel properties, total Lodging revenues increased 6.5% over the prior fiscal year.
* For fiscal 2013, ADR increased 1.7% and RevPAR increased 6.4% at the Company's owned hotels and managed condominiums, excluding Canyons, compared to the prior fiscal year.
* Lodging Reported EBITDA increased 91.4% to $12.2 million for fiscal 2013 compared to the prior fiscal year. Excluding Canyons contribution, Lodging Reported EBITDA was $11.4 million for fiscal 2013.
* Lodging Reported EBITDA includes $1.9 million and $1.7 million of stock-based compensation expense for fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2012, respectively.

Resort — Combination of Mountain and Lodging Segments

* Resort net revenue was $1,078.5 million for fiscal 2013, up 10.4% compared to the prior fiscal year. Excluding the Acquisitions, Resort net revenue increased 7.0% to $1,045.5 million in fiscal 2013.
* Resort Reported EBITDA increased 17.3% to $240.9 million for fiscal 2013, compared to the prior fiscal year. Excluding the Acquisitions, Resort Reported EBITDA increased 18.4% to $242.9 million.

Real Estate Segment

* Real Estate segment net revenue was $42.3 million for fiscal 2013. This compares to Real Estate net revenue of $47.2 million for fiscal 2012.
* Net Real Estate Cash Flow (a non-GAAP measure defined as Real Estate Reported EBITDA, plus non-cash real estate cost of sales, plus non-cash stock-based compensation expense, plus change in real estate deposits less investment in real estate) was $27.5 million for fiscal 2013, up 60.4% from fiscal 2012.
* Real Estate Reported EBITDA improved 43.1% to a negative $9.1 million for fiscal 2013 compared to a negative $16.0 million for the prior year. Real Estate Reported EBITDA includes $1.4 million and $2.6 million of stock-based compensation expense for fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2012, respectively.

Total Performance

* Total net revenue was $1,120.8 million for fiscal 2013 compared to $1,024.4 million in the prior year, a 9.4% increase.
* Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $37.7 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, for fiscal 2013 compared to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. of $16.5 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, in the prior year.

Dividends and Share Repurchase

In fiscal 2013, total dividends paid were $0.7900 per share, after increasing the dividend amount by approximately 11% in the third fiscal quarter from $0.1875 to $0.2075 per share.

The Company did not repurchase any shares of common stock in fiscal 2013. Since inception of the stock repurchase program in 2006, the Company has repurchased an aggregate of 4,949,111 shares at a cost of approximately $193.2 million. As of July 31, 2013, 1,050,889 shares remained available to repurchase under the existing repurchase authorization.

Season Pass Sales

Commenting on the Company's season pass sales for the upcoming 2013/2014 ski season, Katz said, "We are extremely pleased that our season pass sales for the upcoming 2013/2014 ski season continue to show strong growth and demonstrate the compelling value proposition of our season pass products to our loyal guests. Through September 22, 2013, season pass sales increased approximately 19% in units and approximately 23% in sales dollars, as compared to the prior year period through September 23, 2012. These growth rates are consistent with the growth rates we reported in Spring 2013 and exceeded our expectations. Since announcing the Canyons transaction in late May 2013, we have seen a material acceleration in pass sales in the Tahoe and Utah markets as well as in our destination markets. Our Minneapolis and Detroit markets continue to show growth rates well in excess of our overall results and we continue to see strong performance in Colorado as well. We believe this will be a strong overall year for pass sales, though we expect the final growth rates for the full selling season to be materially lower than where we are through September, as we know a portion of the significant increase in sales to date is due to pass holders who purchased last fall buying passes earlier in the year."

Guidance

Turning to guidance for fiscal 2014, Katz commented, "We are excited about the upcoming ski season and expect to build upon the positive momentum from fiscal 2013 with several new initiatives in fiscal 2014 that we hope will continue to elevate the guest experience and financial results at our resorts. As always, our visibility into the upcoming ski season is limited at this point in time. Our guidance for fiscal 2014 anticipates normal weather conditions and a continuation of the current economic environment. Based on our current estimates, our fiscal 2014 guidance range anticipates Resort Reported EBITDA of between $280.0 million and $295.0 million, including approximately $11.9 million of non-cash stock based compensation expense. We expect that Canyons EBITDA, including its impact on our overall season pass sales and excluding non-recurring integration and litigation related expenses, will modestly exceed our prior guidance for its first full year of operations. We anticipate that integration and litigation related expenses in fiscal 2014, which are included in our Resort Reported EBITDA guidance, will be approximately $7.2 million, including an estimated $5.0 million in fees associated with the Park City Mountain Resort litigation. As we continue to focus on driving profitable growth, we expect to increase our Resort EBITDA Margin (defined as Resort Reported EBITDA divided by Resort net revenue) by approximately 0.7 percentage points to 23.0% in fiscal 2014 at the midpoint of our guidance range. Our Real Estate segment results are impacted in any given year by the timing and mix of real estate sold and closed. For fiscal 2014, we are estimating Real Estate Reported EBITDA of negative $14.0 million to negative $8.0 million, including approximately $1.7 million of non-cash stock-based compensation expense. We expect Net Real Estate Cash Flow of $15.0 million to $25.0 million (including proceeds from recovery of previously incurred project costs and after any additional investments made into the projects). Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. is expected to be in a range of $37.0 million to $55.0 million for fiscal 2014."

Regarding advance Lodging bookings, Katz said, "Although it is still early in the cycle (less than 15% of winter season bookings are historically made by this time), we are pleased that at this point bookings are up in both room nights and revenue over the prior year."

In conclusion, Katz said, "fiscal 2014 will be an exciting year for Vail Resorts. We are integrating Canyons Resort, Afton Alps and Mount Brighton into our pass products, marketing efforts and operations. The opening of Peak 6 at Breckenridge, Chair 4 at Vail and the new Red Tail on-mountain restaurant at Beaver Creek will be important drivers of growth for these critical resorts in Colorado. And we will continue to build and open more summer activities over the course of the fiscal year as part of our Epic Discovery program across our resorts. We look forward to welcoming our guests to enjoy all of our resorts and lodging properties along with our new offerings over the coming year."


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