|TORONTO- April 28, 1999--Four Seasons Hotels Inc. (TSE:FSH.)
(ME:FSH.) (NYSE:FS) Four Seasons Hotels Inc. today reported its results
for the first quarter ended March 31, 1999.Net earnings increased 30 percent
to $10.1 million ($0.30 basic and fully diluted earnings per share) for
the three months ended March 31, 1999, as compared to $7.7 million ($0.23
basic and fully diluted earnings per share) for the first quarter of 1998.
"The strong financial performance realized in the first quarter reflects fee revenue growth from new and recently opened hotels and from hotels that are currently under construction," commented Isadore Sharp, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Over the next three years Four Seasons expects to undertake the largest expansion of its hotel and resort portfolio in its history. This expansion of hotels and resorts under management and our brand extension into luxury vacation ownership resorts is expected to result in continued strong financial performance in the years ahead."
FEES FROM NEW PROJECTS LEAD TO GROWTH IN MANAGEMENT EARNINGS
Hotel management earnings, before depreciation and amortization, for
the first quarter of 1999 increased 13.3 percent to $19.1 million, as compared
to $16.9 million in the first quarter of 1998. General and administrative
expenses increased from $10.9 million in the first quarter of 1998 to $13.8
million for the same period in 1999. This increase in costs related to
additional staffing primarily in the Company's regional offices to facilitate
its unit growth expansion. This regional staffing, which is now complete,
is an important investment in infrastructure to
CONTINUED REVPAR GROWTH IN U.S. AND EUROPEAN HOTELS
The Company's two most important geographic sectors (U.S. and Europe)continued to realize solid RevPAR (room revenue per available room, defined as occupancy multiplied by achieved room rate) gains in the first quarter of 1999. RevPAR, on a U.S. dollar basis, for Core Hotels in both the U.S. and Europe increased 4.3 percent, as compared to the same period in 1998. The U.S. and European hotels generate approximately 60 percent and 15 percent, respectively, of the Company's fee revenues.
The gross operating profit of Core Hotels in the U.S. increased 13.2 percent and the gross operating profit margin increased to 33.9 percent in the first quarter of 1999 from 32.2 percent for the same period in 1998. The gross operating profit margin of Core Hotels in Europe increased to 34.9 percent in the first quarter of 1999 from 34.4 percent for the same period in 1998.
As expected, weak economic conditions in the region continue to impact the Asian hotels under management. RevPAR for the Asian hotels declined 7.3 percent, on a U.S. dollar basis in the First quarter of 1999, as compared to the same period in 1998.
Despite this RevPAR decline at the Asian hotels, the gross operating profits of the hotels under management increased 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 1999 (on a U.S.dollar basis), as compared to the first quarter of 1998, reflecting the benefits realized from cost control efforts implemented over the past year.
"We are pleased with the first quarter performance of the hotels and the full year outlook for the hotels under our management," commented John Sharpe, President and Chief Operating Officer. "We expect that we will meet or exceed our RevPAR growth targets for the year as a result of pricing gains that we continue to be able to realize in our primary markets and modest improvements in our Asian hotels."
HOTEL OWNERSHIP RESULTS
Hotel ownership operations lost $4.6 million before depreciation and
amortization in the first quarter of 1999, compared to a loss of $4.3 million
in the first quarter of 1998. The loss in both years is due primarily to
the normal seasonality of the first quarter. The dividend distributions
from The Regent Hong Kong improved in the first quarter of 1999 compared
to the same period in 1998 as a result of modest operating improvements
at that hotel. The dividend distribution from The Regent Hong Kong was
$972,000 in the first quarter of 1999, compared to $346,000 in the same
period in 1998.
CASH FLOW FROM OPERATIONS
Cash flow from operations increased to $14.7 million for the first quarter
of 1999 from $4.1 million in the first quarter of 1998. The Company is
targeting to invest 70 percent or more of its cash flow from operations
in new projects which will provide new sources of management fee revenues.
The majority of the Company's investments during the first quarter of 1999
related to its new projects in Scottsdale and Punta Mita.
INCOME TAX EXPENSE
The Company's effective tax rate in the first quarter of 1999 (and 1998)
was approximately 5 percent. This low effective tax rate is due primarily
to the utilization of the benefits of the unrecorded tax losses created
by the write-down in hotel investment values in 1993 and 1995. The Company
will continue to benefit from the utilization of these unrecorded tax losses
in 1999. Beginning in the year 2000, the Company is expected to realize
a more normalized tax cost in the mid-20 percent range of taxable income.
NEW UNIT GROWTH
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is the world's largest operator of luxury hotels. The Company currently manages 43 hotels in 18 countries and has an additional 18 properties under construction or in advanced stages of development. Ten of these projects are in countries where Four Seasons does not currently manage a hotel.
Four Seasons is expanding its international presence, with several new projects as a number of important city-centre hotels are scheduled to open during 1999, including new Four Seasons hotels in Las Vegas (which opened in March), Cairo, Canary Wharf (London) and Paris. New Four Seasons resorts will open in Punta Mita (Mexico) and Scottsdale. During the year 2000, new Four Seasons hotels and resorts are scheduled to open in Caracas, Doha (Qatar), Dublin, San Francisco, Shanghai and Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt).
As part of a program to capitalize upon its brand name, service and
marketing expertise, Four Seasons has been pursuing opportunities in luxury
vacation ownership. The Four Seasons resorts in Punta Mita and Scottsdale
are scheduled to open in 1999; both will include Four Seasons' vacation
ownership developments. These new Four Seasons Resort Clubs will complement
Four Seasons first vacation ownership development, the Four Seasons
The Company also expects to participate in the growth of The Regent brand name through its alliance with Carlson Hospitality Group of Minneapolis ("Carlson"). Carlson is franchising The Regent brand and has recently announced nine new Regent projects, including new hotels and resorts in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Mumbai and Mexico. There are nine existing Regent hotels which the Company continues to manage.
"The first quarter results were in line with our business plan which calls for 75 percent or more of our fee growth from recently opened hotels and new projects which are under construction," commented Douglas Ludwig, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. "During the first quarter, the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas was opened and we are very pleased with the reception the hotel has received. This hotel and the others scheduled to open over the remainder of 1999, together with fees from our expanding vacation ownership business should contribute to our meeting our growth objectives for 1999."
All dollar amounts referred to above are Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.
Certain statements contained in this press release that do not relate to historical information are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are thus prospective.
Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties
and other factors which could cause actual results to differ materially
from future results expressed, projected or implied by such forward-looking
statements. These factors are described in the Company's security filings.
Such factors include, but are not limited to economic, competitive and
lodging industry conditions. The Company disclaims any responsibility to
update any such forward-looking statements.
Three months ended
-in US dollars $261.98
-in US dollars $179.20
Gross operating margin(5) 33.8
-in US dollars $302.41
-in US dollars $223.76
- in US dollars $254.38 $252.86 (0.6)
-in US dollars $162.26 $173.46 (6.5)
-in US dollars $158.94 $169.60 (6.3)
-in US dollars $97.11 $104.81 (7.3)
-in US dollars $348.24
-in US dollars $214.77 $205.95 4.3
1 The term "Core Hotels" means hotels and resorts under management or anticipated to be under management for the full year of both 1999 and 1998. Changes from the 1998/1997 Core Hotels are the additions of the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, the Four Seasons Resort Aviara and the Four Seasons Hotel, The Ritz Lisbon.
2 Occupancy percentage is defined as the total number of rooms occupied divided by the total number of rooms available.
3 ADR is defined as average daily room rate per room occupied.
4 REVPAR is defined as average room revenue per available room. REVPAR is a commonly used indicator of market performance for hotels and represents the combination of the average daily room rate and the average occupancy rate achieved during the period. REVPAR does not include food and beverage or other ancillary revenues generated by a hotel.
5 Gross operating margin represents gross operating profit as a percent of gross operating revenue.
SUMMARY OF HOTEL OPERATING DATA - ALL MANAGED HOTELS
(Unaudited) 1999 1998 Variance
No. of Properties 43 41 2
No. of Rooms 13,207 12,522 685
No. of Properties 21 20 1
No. of Rooms 6,799 6,214 585
|Also See:||Four Seasons Hotels To Be Minority Equity Partner in 440 Room Shanghai China Hotel Project / April 1999|