Choice Hotels International Reports 2011 Second Quarter Results; Revenues Increase, Net Income Flat

Site of Choice Hotels New Headquarters to Be Built in Rockville, Maryland by 2013 - Metro Business Media

Choice Hotels Reports Second Quarter 2011 Diluted EPS of $0.46, Domestic RevPAR Growth of 6.6%

SILVER SPRING, Md., Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Choice Hotels International, Inc., (NYSE: CHH) today reported the following highlights for second quarter 2011:

  • Diluted earnings per share ("EPS") for second quarter 2011 were $0.46 compared to $0.45 for the same period of the prior year.
  • Excluding special items, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") were $47.3 million for the three months ended June 30, 2011, compared to $45.7 million for the same period of 2010. Operating income increased 3% from $43.6 million for the three months ended June 30, 2010 to $45.1 million for the same period of the current year.
  • Franchising revenues increased 7% from $68.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2010 to $73.4 million for the same period of 2011. Total revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2011 increased 10% to $165.3 million compared to the same period of 2010.
  • Worldwide unit growth increased 0.7 percent from June 30, 2010 comprised of domestic and international unit growth of 0.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
  • Domestic system-wide revenue per available room ("RevPAR") increased 6.6% for the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period of 2010.
  • The effective royalty rate increased 4 basis points to 4.33% for the three months ended June 30, 2011 compared to 4.29% for the same period of the prior year.
  • The company executed 69 new domestic hotel franchise contracts for the three months ended June 30, 2011, an increase of 11% compared to the 62 contracts executed in the same period of the prior year.
  • The number of domestic hotels under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development declined 23% from June 30, 2010 to 451 hotels representing 37,892 rooms; the worldwide pipeline declined 19% from June 30, 2010 to 554 hotels representing 46,612 rooms.

"During the second quarter, we continued to see strong gains in RevPAR domestically across every brand in the Choice family thanks to a combination of increases in both occupancy and rate," said Stephen P. Joyce, president and chief executive officer. "We were also pleased to see a robust increase in domestic franchise development agreements for our conversion brands. In particular, the development community continues to warmly receive our Ascend Collection membership program, with units online increasing more than 35% over the past year. We are also excited with the recent addition of the Collection's largest property, the 431-room Xona Resorts Suites hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona which will further strengthen the portfolio."

Special Items

During the three and six months ended June 30, 2011, the company recorded employee termination benefits charges of approximately $0.3 million and $0.4 million, respectively. In addition, during the six months ended June 30, 2011, the company reduced the carrying amount of a parcel of land held for sale resulting in a loss of $1.8 million included in other gains and losses. These amounts represented diluted EPS of $0.03 for the six months ended June 30, 2011 but did not have an effect on the reported diluted EPS for the three months ended June 30, 2011.

During the three and six months ended June 30, 2010, the company recorded employee termination benefits charges (reversals) of approximately ($0.1) million and $0.2 million, respectively. These amounts did not have an effect on the reported diluted EPS for the periods reported.

Outlook for 2011

The company's third quarter 2011 diluted EPS is expected to be $0.59. The company expects full-year 2011 adjusted diluted EPS to be between $1.75 and $1.77. Adjusted EBITDA for full-year 2011 are expected to be between $178 million and $180 million. These estimates include the following assumptions:

  • The company expects net domestic unit growth to be relatively flat in 2011;
  • RevPAR is expected to increase approximately 5% for the third quarter of 2011 and increase approximately 5% for full-year 2011;
  • The effective royalty rate is expected to increase 1 basis points for full-year 2011;
  • The growth rate for selling, general and administrative expenses for the second half of 2011 is expected to moderate, from the growth rate in the first half of 2011, to a mid-single digit percentage increase compared to the second half of 2010;
  • All figures assume the existing share count and an effective tax rate of 34.5% and 33.5% for the third quarter and full-year 2011, respectively;
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the full year 2011 excludes $0.4 million of operating expenses related to employee termination benefits. Adjusted diluted EPS excludes the aforementioned employee termination benefits as well as a $1.8 million loss on land held for sale which together represent approximately $0.03 diluted EPS for full year 2011.

Use of Free Cash Flow

The company has historically used its free cash flow (cash flow from operations less capital expenditures) to return value to shareholders, primarily through share repurchases and dividends.

For the six months ended June 30, 2011 the company paid $21.9 million of cash dividends to shareholders. The current quarterly dividend rate per common share is $0.185, subject to declaration by our board of directors.

During the six months ended June 30, 2011, the company did not purchase shares of its common stock under the share repurchase program but still has authorization to purchase up to an additional 3.6 million shares under this program. We expect to continue making repurchases in the open market and through privately negotiated transactions, subject to market and other conditions. No minimum number of share repurchases has been fixed. Since Choice announced its stock repurchase program on June 25, 1998, the company has repurchased 43.2 million shares of its common stock for a total cost of $1 billion through June 30, 2011. Considering the effect of a two-for-one stock split in October 2005, the company had repurchased 76.2 million shares through June 30, 2011 under the share repurchase program at an average price of $13.35 per share.

Our board of directors previously authorized us to enter into programs which permit us to offer financing, investment and guaranty support to qualified franchisees as well as to acquire and resell real estate to incent franchise development for certain brands in top markets. Over the next several years, we expect to continue to opportunistically deploy capital pursuant to these programs to promote growth of our emerging brands. The amount and timing of the investment in these programs will be dependent on market and other conditions. Notwithstanding these programs, the company expects to continue to return value to its shareholders through a combination of share repurchases and dividends, subject to market and other conditions.

Conference Call

Choice will conduct a conference call on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. EDT to discuss the company's second quarter 2011 results. The dial-in number to listen to the call is 1-800-599-9816, and the access code is 24713398. International callers should dial 1-617-847-8705 and enter the access code 24713398. The conference call also will be Webcast simultaneously via the company's Web site, www.choicehotels.com. Interested investors and other parties wishing to access the call via the Webcast should go to the Web site and click on the Investor Info link. The Investor Information page will feature a conference call microphone icon to access the call.

The call will be recorded and available for replay beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 through Friday, September 2, 2011 by calling 1-888-286-8010 and entering access code 84948188. The international dial-in number for the replay is 1-617-801-6888, access code 84948188. In addition, the call will be archived and available on www.choicehotels.com via the Investor Info link.

About Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,100 hotels, representing more than 490,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of June 30, 2011, more than 450 hotels were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States, representing more than 37,000 rooms, and approximately 100 hotels, representing approximately 8,700 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and territories. The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands serve guests worldwide. In addition, via its Ascend Collection membership program, travelers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean have upscale lodging options at historic, boutique and unique hotels.

Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. Web site, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain matters discussed in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities law. Generally, our use of words such as "expect," "estimate," "believe," "anticipate," "will," "forecast," "plan," project," "assume" or similar words of futurity identify statements that are forward-looking and that we intend to be included within the Safe Harbor protections provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements are based on management's current beliefs, assumptions and expectations regarding future events, which in turn are based on information currently available to management. Such statements may relate to projections of the company's revenue, earnings and other financial and operational measures, company debt levels, payment of stock dividends, and future operations, among other matters. We caution you not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements do not guarantee future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors.

Several factors could cause actual results, performance or achievements of the company to differ materially from those expressed in or contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Such risks include, but are not limited to, changes to general, domestic and foreign economic conditions; operating risks common in the lodging and franchising industries; changes to the desirability of our brands as viewed by hotel operators and customers; changes to the terms or termination of our contracts with franchisees; our ability to keep pace with improvements in technology utilized for reservations systems and other operating systems; fluctuations in the supply and demand for hotels rooms; and our ability to manage effectively our indebtedness. These and other risk factors are discussed in detail in the Risk Factors section of the company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 1, 2011. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Statement Concerning Non-GAAP Financial Measurements

Adjusted diluted EPS, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted SG&A, franchising revenues and adjusted franchising margins are non-GAAP financial measurements. This information should not be considered as an alternative to any measure of performance as promulgated under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP), such as diluted earnings per share, operating income, total revenues and operating margins. The company's calculation of these measurements may be different from the calculations used by other companies and therefore comparability may be limited. The company has included an exhibit accompanying this release that reconciles these measures to the comparable GAAP measurement. We discuss management's reasons for reporting these non-GAAP measures below.

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization: EBITDA reflects earnings excluding the impact of interest expense, tax expense, depreciation and amortization. Our management considers EBITDA to be an indicator of operating performance because it can be used to measure our ability to service debt, fund capital expenditures, and expand our business. EBITDA is a commonly used measure of performance in our industry. In addition, it is used by analysts, lenders, investors and others, as well as by us, to facilitate comparisons between the company and its competitors because it excludes certain items that can vary widely across different industries or among companies within the same industry.

Franchising Revenues and Margins: The company reports franchising revenues and margins which exclude marketing and reservation revenues and hotel operations. Marketing and reservation activities are excluded from revenues and operating margins since the company is contractually required by its franchise agreements to use these fees collected for marketing and reservation activities. Cumulative reservation and marketing fees not expended are recorded as a payable on the company's financial statements and are carried over to the next fiscal year and expended in accordance with the franchise agreements. Cumulative marketing and reservation expenditures in excess of fees collected for marketing and reservation activities are recorded as a receivable on the company's financial statements. In addition, the company has the contractual authority to require that the franchisees in the system at any given point repay the company for any deficits related to marketing and reservation activities. Hotel operations are excluded since they do not reflect the most accurate measure of the company's core franchising business. These non-GAAP measures are a commonly used measure of performance in our industry and facilitate comparisons between the company and its competitors.

Adjusted Diluted EPS, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted SG&A and Adjusted Franchising Margins: The company's management also uses adjusted diluted EPS, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted SG&A and adjusted franchising margins which exclude employee termination benefits for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 and 2010 as well as a reduction in the carrying amount of land held for sale during the six months ended June 30, 2011. The company utilizes these non-GAAP measures to enable investors to perform meaningful comparisons of past, present and future operating results and as a means to emphasize the results of on-going operations.

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Collectionare proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

© 2011 Choice Hotels International, Inc. All rights reserved.

For the full press release please click on the link below

http://investor.choicehotels.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=99348&p=irol-newsArticl...

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