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Vail Resorts Reports Fiscal 2018 Third Quarter Results and Early Season Pass Sales Results

Vail Resorts, Inc. reported results for its third quarter ended April 30, 2018, as well as the Company's results of its early season pass sales for the 2018/2019 North American ski season.

Highlights
  • Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $256.3 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2018, an increase of 41.5% compared to net income of $181.1 million for the third fiscal quarter of 2017, which includes the reduction in our provision for income taxes resulting from U.S. Tax Reform.
  • Resort Reported EBITDA was $419.7 million for the third fiscal quarter of 2018, which includes the operations of Stowe (acquired in June 2017), $2.8 million of Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass acquisition related expenses and $0.7 million of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe integration related expenses, compared to Resort Reported EBITDA of $392.0 million in the same period in the prior year, which included $2.3 million of acquisition and integration related expenses.
  • The Company updated its fiscal 2018 guidance range and is now expecting Resort Reported EBITDA to be between $612 million and $622 million, including an estimated $7.0 million of acquisition and integration related expenses specific to Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass and an estimated $3.2 million of integration related expenses specific to Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe.
  • Season pass sales for the 2018/2019 North American ski season, excluding military pass products, increased approximately 12% in units and approximately 19% in sales dollars through May 29, 2018, compared with the prior year period ended May 30, 2017, adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying current period exchange rates to the prior period for Whistler Blackcomb pass sales. The Company also had significant sales of its Military Epic pass products.
  • On June 4, 2018, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee Resort, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and separately entered into an agreement to acquire Stevens Pass Resort.
Commenting on the Company's fiscal 2018 third quarter results, Rob Katz, chief executive officer said, "We are pleased with our performance in the quarter and for the full 2017/2018 North American ski season, particularly given the challenging weather conditions across the western U.S. for much of the season. Our performance demonstrates the resiliency of our business model, the stability provided by our geographically diverse resort network and the importance of increased advanced purchase products, including our season passes. Our improved results in the third fiscal quarter also underscore the strength of the high-end consumer's demand for ski vacations once conditions improved across our network.

"Mountain revenue increased 7.1% for the third fiscal quarter compared to the same period in the prior year, with lift revenue growing 7.9%, primarily as a result of strong season pass sales for the 2017/2018 North American ski season and the inclusion of Stowe, which was partially offset by lower non-pass lift revenue at our western U.S. resorts. Total visitation, including Stowe, grew 6.4% for the third fiscal quarter compared to the prior year period. Whistler Blackcomb experienced excellent conditions and achieved another season of record results. As conditions improved across the western U.S. in the second half of the ski season, overall skier visits rebounded sharply despite total snowfall remaining significantly below the long-term average at many of our western U.S. resorts."

Katz continued, "With our winter season behind us, we are pleased that our year-to-date results delivered growth over the prior year despite the very challenging conditions in the first half of the season. We believe this highlights the continued success of our season pass and guest-focused marketing efforts, the importance of geographic diversification in our resort network and the outstanding experience we provide at our resorts. We also continue to benefit from our improved ability to target and personalize our marketing messages to guests, resulting from the significant investments we have made in data capture and data-driven marketing capabilities over the past several years."

Regarding Lodging, Katz said, "Our lodging results for the third fiscal quarter were relatively flat as compared to the prior year period, with Lodging revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements) declining 0.2%." Katz continued, "Resort Reported EBITDA was $419.7 million for the fiscal quarter, an increase of 7.1% over the same period in the prior year. Resort EBITDA margin for the quarter was 49.9%, an increase of 30 basis points over the same period in the prior year."

Regarding Real Estate, Katz said, "During the third fiscal quarter, we closed on the sale of a development land parcel for $3.0 million. Real Estate EBITDA for the quarter also includes the recognition of a legal settlement totaling $5.5 million. The cash proceeds related to this legal settlement were received in a prior fiscal year."

Regarding the Company's outlook, Katz said, "Given our performance to date this year, we expect that our fiscal 2018 Resort Reported EBITDA will finish the year between $612 million and $622 million, an increase of 3.1% to 4.8% compared to the prior year. Our fiscal 2018 Resort Reported EBITDA guidance includes an estimated $10.2 million of acquisition and integration related expenses."
Katz continued, "Our balance sheet remains strong and the business continues to generate robust cash flow. We ended the quarter with $181.6 million of cash on hand and our Net Debt was 1.5 times trailing twelve months Total Reported EBITDA, which includes our outstanding debt of $1.1 billion as of April 30, 2018. 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 $1.47 per share of common stock and will be payable on July 12, 2018, to shareholders of record on June 27, 2018. Additionally, the Company repurchased $25.8 million of stock during the quarter at an average price of $223.51."

Acquisitions

As previously announced on June 4, 2018, the Company entered into an agreement to purchase Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. The Company will acquire Triple Peaks, LLC from the Mueller family for a cash purchase price of $82 million, subject to certain adjustments at closing, and will simultaneously pay $155 million to pay off the leases that all three resorts have with Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Oz Real Estate. In a separate transaction, Vail Resorts also entered into an agreement to purchase Stevens Pass Resort in Washington State from Ski Resort Holdings, LLC for a cash purchase price of $67 million, subject to certain adjustments. The transactions are expected to close this summer, subject to receipt of new Special Use Permits from the U.S. Forest Service for Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Stevens Pass Resort, as well as administrative review and consent from the States of Vermont and New Hampshire. The acquisitions are collectively expected to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $35 million in Vail Resorts' fiscal year ending July 31, 2019.

Subsequent to the closing of the two transactions, Vail Resorts plans to invest $35 million over the following two years, incremental to our normal rate of capital expenditures, to continue to elevate the guest experience across the four resorts. In addition, annual ongoing capital expenditures are expected to increase in the aggregate by $7 million to support the addition of these four resorts.

Operating Results

A more complete discussion of our operating results can be found within the Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations section of the Company's Form 10-Q for the third fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2018, which was filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The following are segment highlights, all of which is as of, or for the three month period ended April 30, 2018, as compared to the three month period ended April 30, 2017, unless otherwise noted:

Mountain Segment
  • Total lift revenue increased $33.1 million, or 7.9%, to $452.7 million, primarily due to strong North American pass sales growth for the 2017/2018 North American ski season and incremental operations of Stowe.
  • Ski school revenue increased $9.5 million, or 10.4%, and dining revenue increased $5.1 million, or 7.7%. These increases were the result of increased revenue at our Colorado resorts and at Whistler Blackcomb, as well as incremental revenue from Stowe.
  • Retail/rental revenue increased $2.1 million, or 2.0%, primarily due to incremental revenue from Stowe and an increase in revenue at Whistler Blackcomb, partially offset by decreased revenue at stores proximate to our western U.S. resorts and other city stores.
  • Operating expense increased $23.5 million, or 6.9%, which was primarily attributable to the inclusion of incremental operating expenses from Stowe.
  • Mountain Reported EBITDA increased $28.0 million, or 7.3%.
  • Mountain Reported EBITDA includes $3.8 million of stock-based compensation expense compared to $3.6 million in the same period in the prior year. Additionally, we recorded $3.5 million of acquisition and integration related expenses compared to $2.3 million of acquisition and integration related expenses in the same period in the prior year.
Lodging Segment
  • Lodging segment net revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements) decreased $0.1 million, or 0.2%.
  • Occupancy increased 0.4 percentage points and Average Daily Rate ("ADR") was flat at the Company's owned hotels and managed condominiums.
  • Lodging Reported EBITDA decreased $0.2 million, or 2.1%.
  • Lodging Reported EBITDA includes $0.8 million of stock-based compensation expense for the both the three months ended April 30, 2018 and 2017.
Resort - Combination of Mountain and Lodging Segments
  • Resort net revenue increased $51.6 million, or 6.5%, to $841.4 million primarily due to strong North American pass sales growth for the 2017/2018 North American ski season and the incremental operations of Stowe.
  • Resort Reported EBITDA was $419.7 million, an increase of $27.7 million, or 7.1%. Results included $3.5 million of acquisition and integration related expenses compared to $2.3 million of acquisition and integration related expenses in the same period in the prior year.
Real Estate Segment
  • Real Estate segment net revenue decreased $1.7 million, or 35.5%. Real Estate segment operating expense for the three months ended April 30, 2018, includes the recognition of a $5.5 million benefit of non-cash income in the current period related to a legal settlement in fiscal 2015 for which cash proceeds were received and established as a liability for estimated future remediation costs of a construction development. All known items have been remediated and, based on continued monitoring, the Company has concluded that the need for further remediation is remote.
  • Net Real Estate Cash Flow of $2.8 million, which includes a $4.3 million contribution to the new Town of Vail public parking structure that was paid during the three months ended April 30, 2018, was flat to the same period in the prior year.
  • Real Estate Reported EBITDA increased $8.7 million, or 175.5%.
Total Performance
  • Total net revenue increased $49.9 million, or 6.3%, to $844.5 million.
  • Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $256.3 million, or $6.17 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. of $181.1 million, or $4.40 per diluted share, in the third fiscal quarter of the prior year.
Return of Capital

The Company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.47 per share of Vail Resorts common stock that will be payable on July 12, 2018, to shareholders of record on June 27, 2018. Additionally, a Canadian dollar equivalent dividend on the exchangeable shares of Whistler Blackcomb will be payable on July 12, 2018, to exchangeable shareholders of record on June 27, 2018. The exchangeable shares were issued to certain Canadian persons in connection with our acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb. In the third quarter of fiscal 2018, the Company repurchased 115,422 shares at an average price of $223.51 for a total of $25.8 million.

Season Pass Sales

Commenting on the Company's season pass sales for the upcoming 2018/2019 North American ski season, Katz said, "We are very pleased with the results for our season pass sales to date. Excluding sales of our Military Epic pass products, pass sales through May 29, 2018 for the upcoming 2018/2019 North American ski season increased approximately 12% in units and approximately 19% in sales dollars, as compared to the prior year period through May 30, 2017. Our spring pass sales included strong growth across nearly all markets, with continued strong performance among our destination guests in the U.S. and internationally. We had particularly strong pass sales in Whistler Blackcomb's regional market, with solid growth in Colorado and Tahoe, despite the challenging conditions experienced throughout the season in those regions. As a result of the strength of our network and the new resort partnerships we entered into, our premium Epic Pass has been the fastest growing product among all of our pass products this year. In addition to all of these results, we also saw very strong sales of our new Military Epic Pass, with huge enthusiasm and engagement from current and past members of the armed forces. We saw significant Military Epic Pass sales to new guests, as well as to guests who had previously purchased one of our season pass products. We are still in the processes of verifying our new Military Epic Pass sales and will be releasing additional information on those results in the fall. Whistler Blackcomb pass products are included in both current and prior year, adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying current period exchange rates to the prior period. It is important to note that a portion of our spring growth includes passholders who purchased 2017/18 North American ski season passes last fall."

Regarding Epic Australia Pass sales, Katz commented, "Perisher's 2018 ski season kicks off this weekend and we are very pleased with ongoing sales of the Epic Australia Pass, which end on June 12, 2018, and are up 19% in units through June 3, 2018, as compared to the prior year period through June 4, 2017. Epic Australia Pass sales have benefited from the addition of Hakuba Valley in Japan under a long-term pass alliance, which is an extremely popular option with Australian skiers and snowboarders."

North American Summer Business

Commenting on North American summer business, Katz said, "With the ski season behind us we are very excited to welcome summer visitors to our resorts, including Whistler Blackcomb, which has a full calendar of incredible events and some of the best mountain biking on the planet. At Vail, Heavenly and Breckenridge, Epic Discovery summer operations will begin in the coming weeks. Our Epic Discovery guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a great lineup of activities for the whole family, including experiential learning exhibits in a high alpine environment, ropes courses, zip lines, summer tubing and alpine coasters, including the return of the mountain coaster at Heavenly."

Updated Outlook
  • Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. is expected to be between $360 million and $381 million in fiscal 2018.
  • Resort Reported EBITDA is expected to be between $612 million and $622 million for fiscal 2018, which is predicated on current Canadian and Australian foreign exchange rates and includes an estimated $7.0 million of acquisition and integration related expenses specific to Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass and an estimated $3.2 million of integration related expenses specific to Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe. The updated outlook for fiscal year 2018 does not include any estimate for the closing costs, including transfer taxes, or operating results of the Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass acquisitions as the transactions remain subject to closing, which is expected to occur this summer.
  • Resort EBITDA Margin is expected to be approximately 30.7% in fiscal 2018, at the midpoint of our guidance range.
  • Fiscal 2018 Real Estate Reported EBITDA is expected to be between $0 and $2 million.

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