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Vail Resorts reports another year of record-breaking resort revenue

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September 28, 2015, 7:52 am

Vail Resorts today released its fourth-quarter results for the fiscal year ending July 31. Here’s the press release from the ski company:

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Sept. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) today reported results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended July 31, 2015 and provided its outlook for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2016.

Highlights

  • Fiscal 2015 Resort Reported EBITDA, excluding the non-cash gain on the Park City litigation settlement, was $349.4 million. This includes incremental EBITDA of $7.4 million from Perisher and $5.5 million of litigation, transaction and integration related expenses associated with the Park City acquisition.
  • Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $114.8 million for fiscal 2015.
  • Sales of season passes through September 20, 2015 for the upcoming 2015/2016 ski season (excluding Perisher pass sales) increased approximately 16% in units and 22% in sales dollars versus the comparable period in the prior year.
  • The Company issued its fiscal 2016 guidance range, including a full year of Perisher results, with Resort Reported EBITDA expected to be between $405 million and $430 million.

vail like nothing on earth logoCommenting on the Company’s fiscal 2015 results, Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We achieved another year of record-breaking Resort revenue and Resort Reported EBITDA. We are very pleased to complete the year with Resort Reported EBITDA, excluding the non-cash gain on the Park City litigation settlement and Perisher EBITDA, of $342.0 million which was within our original guidance range, despite the impact of challenging conditions in Tahoe throughout the season and in Utah this spring. Our season pass program continued to drive growth, customer loyalty and financial stability with season pass revenue, excluding Perisher, increasing 20.9% compared to the prior year. We experienced another outstanding year in Colorado with strong growth in effective ticket price (“ETP”) and guest spending in our ancillary businesses. Our summer business continues to grow as we build out Epic Discovery activities at Vail, Breckenridge and Heavenly and tap into the strong existing summer tourism in those markets. Finally, disciplined cost control played a critical part in achieving fiscal 2015’s strong results and increasing Resort EBITDA Margin by 330 basis points from fiscal 2014 to 25.6% in fiscal 2015, excluding the non-cash gain on the Park City litigation settlement and Perisher EBITDA.”

Commenting on the Company’s recent acquisitions, Katz said, “We are excited to head into fiscal 2016 with an even stronger network of world-class resorts and very attractive growth opportunities. In September 2014, we announced the acquisition of Park City and subsequently integrated the resort for the 2014/2015 ski season and outlined the $50 million transformational capital plan to connect Park City and Canyons for the 2015/2016 ski season. This transformational plan, one of the most ambitious and impactful investments in U.S. ski industry history, is on schedule and on budget and we are excited to welcome guests to the new Park City this winter, now the largest ski resort in the United States. On June 30, 2015, we closed on the acquisition of Perisher in Australia, our first international mountain resort. We have been thrilled with the in-season integration with the Perisher team and strong season to date results. Due to the timing of the closing, our results only include one month of peak season operating results from Perisher, which generated Resort Reported EBITDA from operations of AU$17.7 million (US$13.1 million excluding US$5.7 million of transaction, duties and transition costs). As we noted on our last earnings call, we saw very strong season pass growth of 68% heading into the season at Perisher and continue to see strong demand for the Epic Australia Pass since launching sales on August 14, 2015 for the 2016 Perisher season.”

Katz added, “For fiscal 2015 total Mountain net revenue increased 14.6% to $1.1 billion. Excluding the one month of Perisher results, total skier visits increased 6.5% driven by the addition of Park City and strong Colorado visitation, particularly at Breckenridge, partially offset by the 16.4% decline in Tahoe visits and challenging results at Canyons in the spring. Total ETP increased 10.1%, excluding Perisher, driven largely by season pass and lift ticket price increases across our resorts along with the migration of guests to our proprietary online advanced purchase channels. Our ancillary businesses also saw strong growth with ski school, dining and retail/rental revenue, excluding Perisher, up 12.9%, 10.2% and 3.2%, respectively, compared to the prior year. With a strong U.S. economy and robust high-end consumer demand for ski vacations, we are continuing to leverage our network of vertically integrated resorts and sophisticated marketing to drive guest spending.”

Regarding Lodging, Katz said, “Fiscal 2015 was very strong for our Lodging business with net revenue growing 5.1% and Lodging Reported EBITDA increasing 29.6% compared to fiscal 2014. These improvements were primarily driven by a 250 basis point improvement in occupancy and a 5.3% growth in average daily rate (“ADR”), resulting in a 12.0% improvement in revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) compared to the prior year. The Colorado lodging market remained strong throughout the year due to robust transient demand and ADR growth. We also experienced strong demand and increased park visitation at Grand Teton Lodge Company in the fourth quarter, which led to substantial RevPAR and ancillary revenue growth.”

Turning to the real estate business, Katz commented, “We continue to see positive momentum and strong demand in the resort real estate markets where we operate.  We generated $28.9 million of Net Real Estate Cash Flow in fiscal 2015 resulting from strong sales activity and a strengthening real estate market. During the fourth quarter we closed on five One Ski Hill Place units and two Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail units. For the full fiscal year, we closed on fourteen One Ski Hill Place units and five Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail units, as well as a property in Breckenridge that will be developed into a Marriott Residence Inn and a development land parcel in Vail. Since July 31, 2015, we have closed on two Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail units and one land sale, and we currently have two One Ski Hill Place units under contract, which are expected to close in the first and second fiscal quarters of fiscal 2016. As of September 25, 2015 we have seven Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail units and four One Ski Hill Place units remaining to be sold and approximately $97.3 million of real estate held for sale and investment associated with land parcels at our resorts.”

Katz continued, “Our balance sheet continues to be very strong. We ended the fiscal year with $35.5 million of cash on hand and $185.0 million of borrowings under the revolver portion of our senior credit facility, primarily as a result of funding the Perisher acquisition on June 30, 2015. Our Net Debt was 2.2 times trailing twelve months Total Reported EBITDA, which includes $317.5 million of capitalized long-term obligations associated with the Canyons transaction. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, we completed the redemptions of $215.0 million 6.50% Senior Subordinated Notes and $41.2 million 6.95% Eagle County Industrial Development Bonds, which were funded by a $250.0 million term loan under our senior credit facility and cash on hand. Additionally, I am 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 $0.6225 per share of common stock and will be payable on October 26, 2015 to shareholders of record on October 9, 2015.”

Operating Results
A complete Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations can be found in the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2015 filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The following are segment highlights:

Mountain Segment

  • Total skier visits for fiscal 2015, excluding Perisher, increased to 8.2 million, a 6.5% increase compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • Season pass revenue, excluding Perisher, increased $37.1 million, or 20.9%, compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • ETP, excluding season pass holders and Perisher, increased $7.04, or 8.8%, compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • Mountain Reported EBITDA for fiscal 2015, excluding the non-cash gain on the Park City litigation settlement and Perisher EBITDA, increased $68.2 million, or 27.1%, to $320.3 million, compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • Mountain Reported EBITDA includes $11.8 million and $10.3 million of stock-based compensation expense for fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2014, respectively.

Lodging Segment

  • Lodging net revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements) was $244.2 million for fiscal 2015 compared to $232.1 million for the prior fiscal year, a 5.3% increase.
  • ADR increased 5.3% and RevPAR increased 12.0% in fiscal 2015 at the Company’s owned hotels and managed condominiums, compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • Lodging Reported EBITDA increased 29.6% to $21.7 million for fiscal 2015 compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • Lodging Reported EBITDA includes $2.6 million and $2.2 million of stock-based compensation expense for fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2014, respectively.

Resort – Combination of Mountain and Lodging Segments

  • Resort net revenue was $1,358.6 million for fiscal 2015, an increase of 12.7%, compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • Resort Reported EBITDA increased 36.1% to $365.8 million for fiscal 2015 (including the non-cash gain on the Park City litigation settlement and Perisher EBITDA), compared to the prior fiscal year.

Real Estate Segment

  • Real Estate segment net revenue was $41.3 million, a decrease of $7.4 million compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • Net Real Estate Cash Flow was $28.9 million for fiscal 2015.
  • Real Estate Reported EBITDA was negative $6.9 million for fiscal 2015, compared to negative $7.0 million for the prior fiscal year.
  • Real Estate Reported EBITDA includes $1.3 million and $1.7 million of stock-based compensation expense for fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2014, respectively.

Total Performance

  • Total net revenue was $1,399.9 million for fiscal 2015 compared to $1,254.6 million in the prior fiscal year, an 11.6% increase.
  • Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $114.8 million, or $3.07 per diluted share, for fiscal 2015, compared to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. of $28.5 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, in the prior fiscal year.

All references to Perisher results are in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise noted.

Season Pass Sales
Commenting on season pass sales, Katz said, “We are extremely pleased with our season pass sales to date. Through September 20, 2015, season pass sales increased approximately 16% in units and 22% in sales dollars, compared to the prior year period ended September 21, 2014 (excluding Perisher Freedom Pass and Epic Australia Pass sales in both periods). It’s encouraging that we maintained our growth rates from our early season sales, reflecting the strong enthusiasm from our guests for our pass products, which we believe offer the best value in the ski industry. Our growth continues to be driven in large part from our more sophisticated and targeted efforts to move destination guests into our season pass products, with this segment representing more than three quarters of this year’s growth.  As always, we do expect our season pass growth rates to decline through the end of our selling season, given that some of our increase is driven by our efforts to encourage guests to purchase their passes earlier in the year. Typically at this point in the year, we have sold approximately 55% to 60% of our season passes for the upcoming ski season.  The Epic Australia Pass, which replaced the Perisher Freedom Pass, went on sale on August 14, 2015The Epic Australia Pass offers access to Perisher during the 2016 Australian ski season (June through September) and access to our U.S. resorts for the 2016/2017 ski season.  To date, sales of the Epic Australia Pass are running 14% above sales of the Perisher Freedom Pass from the prior year.”

Guidance
Commenting on guidance for fiscal 2016, Katz said, “We estimate Resort Reported EBITDA for fiscal 2016 will be between $405 million and $430 million. Our Resort Reported EBITDA guidance includes the first year of the combined Park City, now including the former Canyons terrain, and the first full year of operating results for Perisher, both of which are in line with our previously issued expectations. We expect Resort EBITDA Margin to be approximately 27.5% in fiscal 2016, using the midpoint of the guidance range.  This is an estimated 190 basis point increase over fiscal 2015, excluding the non-cash gain on the Park City litigation settlement and Perisher EBITDA.  We estimate fiscal 2016 Real Estate Reported EBITDA to be between negative $4 million and positive $2 million, which includes a reduced allocation of corporate costs as the remaining condo inventory available for sale decreases. Net Real Estate Cash Flow is expected to be between $13 million and $28 million.  Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. is expected to be between $118 million and $144 million in fiscal 2016. All of these estimates are predicted on an exchange rate of $0.71 between the Australian Dollar and U.S. Dollar.”

The following table reflects the forecasted guidance range for the Company’s fiscal year ending July 31, 2016, for Reported EBITDA (after stock-based compensation expense) and reconciles such Reported EBITDA guidance to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. guidance for fiscal 2016.

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