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Warm Weather Shrinks Vail Resorts 2nd-Qtr Profit

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Bob Jack from Castle Pines North sent in this photo taken by Thomas H. Green at Vail on Feb. 22.

Bob Jack from Castle Pines North sent in this photo taken by Thomas H. Green at Vail on Feb. 22.

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BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) – Vail Resorts Inc.’s fiscal second-quarter net income dropped 15 percent as the mild winter kept customers away from the ski slopes. But the company was able to offset some of that by raising ticket prices and room rates.

“This has been one of the most, if not the most, challenging winters for the U.S. ski industry,” CEO Rob Katz said in a statement Tuesday. Its Tahoe resorts had almost no snow during the November-January quarter, while Colorado resorts only got significant snow starting in mid-January.

The operator of ski resorts, hotels and condominiums also expects weaker results from its resorts division and cut its net income guidance for the year ending in July. The company has ski resorts in several parts of Colorado, including Vail and Breckenridge, the Lake Tahoe area in California and Nevada, and Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Vail reported on Tuesday that it earned $46.4 million, or $1.27 per share, for the November-January quarter. That’s down from $54.6 million, or $1.48 per share, during the same period the year before.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted earnings of $1.36 per share.

Revenue for the three months ended Jan. 31 fell 5.5 percent to $373.3 million from $395.1 million. Analysts expected $369.5 million.

The mountain division’s revenue fell 1 percent to $315.9 million as skier visits dropped nearly 15 percent. The company said it made up for some of that decline by increasing ticket prices, which rose about 9 percent. The company said season pass sales also rose 12 percent, and customers spent more on some items while visiting ski resorts.

Revenue in the company’s lodging division fell 6.5 percent to $48.3 million because fewer skiers stayed at Vail Resort’s hotels and condos, even as the company raised its average daily room rate almost 14 percent.

Real estate revenue shrank by nearly two-thirds to $9.1 million on fewer sales.

Vail said that it is lowering its adjusted earnings forecast in the resorts division for the year ending in July because of the drop in visitors, particularly at Tahoe resorts. Its resorts unit combines income from mountain visits and lodging.

It expects $205 million to $215 million in earnings excluding one-time costs and gains, interest expense, taxes and other items from resorts, down from a previous outlook of $233 million to $243 million.

Vail now expects full-year net income between $13 million and $23 million, down from a previous forecast for net income between $30 million and $40 million. Analysts were predicting nearly $33 million in net income.

Vail also said Tuesday that it is raising its quarterly dividend by 25 percent to 18.75 cents from 15 cents. The higher payment will start with the dividend to be paid on April 10.

The Broomfield, Colo., company’s stock added 54 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $42.02 in morning trading Tuesday.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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