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Comparable RevPAR Growth for all Hotels Not Under Renovation was 3.2%

Comparable Hotel EBITDA Margin for all Hotels Not Under Renovation Increased 46 bps

Comparable Hotel EBITDA Flow-Through for all Hotels Not Under Renovation was 51%

Appoints Douglas A. Kessler as Chief Executive Officer

Makes Public Offer to Acquire FelCor Lodging Trust Incorporated

DALLAS, Feb. 23, 2017  -- Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE: AHT) ("Ashford Trust" or the "Company") today reported financial results and performance measures for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2016. The performance measurements for Occupancy, Average Daily Rate (ADR), Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), and Hotel EBITDA are comparable assuming each of the hotel properties in the Company's hotel portfolio as of December 31, 2016 were owned as of the beginning of each of the periods presented.  Unless otherwise stated, all reported results compare the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2016, with the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2015 (see discussion below).  The reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures is included in the financial tables accompanying this press release.

STRATEGIC OVERVIEW

  • Opportunistic focus on upper-upscale, full-service hotels
     
  • Targets moderate debt levels of approximately 55 -  60% net debt/gross assets
     
  • Highly-aligned management team and advisory structure
     
  • One of the highest long-term total shareholder returns in the industry
     
  • Attractive dividend yield of approximately 6.4%
     
  • Targets cash and cash equivalents at a level of 25 - 35% of total equity market capitalization for the purposes of:
    • working capital needs at property and corporate levels
    • hedging against a downturn in the economy or hotel fundamentals
    • being prepared to pursue accretive investments or stock buybacks as those opportunities arise

 

FINANCIAL AND OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS

  • Net loss attributable to common stockholders was $57.3 million or $0.61 per diluted share for the quarter. For the full year of 2016, net loss attributable to common stockholders was $88.7 million or $0.95 per diluted share.
     
  • Comparable RevPAR for all hotels not under renovation increased 3.2% during the quarter
     
  • Comparable Hotel EBITDA Margin for all hotels not under renovation increased 46 basis points for the quarter
     
  • Comparable Hotel EBITDA flow-through for all hotels not under renovation was 51% for the quarter
     
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $84.1 million for the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA for the full year of 2016 was $431.1 million, which reflected a 6% growth rate over 2015.
     
  • Adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) was $0.16 per diluted share for the quarter. For the full year of 2016, AFFO per diluted share was $1.51 compared with $1.44 for the full year of 2015, an increase of 5% over the prior year.
     
  • The Company's common stock is currently trading at an approximate 6.4% dividend yield
     
  • Capex invested in the quarter was $66.1 million
     

TRANSACTION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Completed the sale of the 162-room SpringHill Suites Gaithersburg in Gaithersburg, MD for approximately $13.2 million ($81,000 per key)
     
  • Completed the sale of the two-hotel portfolio comprised of the 151-room Courtyard Palm Desert and the 130-room Residence Inn Palm Desert for $36 million ($128,000 per key)
     
  • Refinanced four mortgage loans with existing outstanding balances totaling approximately $415 million with a new loan totaling $450 million
     
  • Priced an underwritten public offering of 6,200,000 shares of 7.375% Series G Cumulative Preferred Stock at $25.00 per share
     

MAKES PUBLIC OFFER TO ACQUIRE FELCOR LODGING TRUST

On February 21, 2017, the Company announced that it had submitted a non-binding proposal to acquire FelCor Lodging Trust Incorporated (NYSE: FCH) ("FelCor") for $9.27 per share comprised of 1.192 shares of Ashford Trust in exchange for each share of FelCor and securities in Ashford Inc.  The Company believes the proposed combination has compelling strategic, operational, and financial merit, presenting shareholders of FelCor and Ashford Trust with a substantial value creation opportunity.  The combined company would be the largest pure-play publicly traded lodging REIT by number of hotels, second-largest by room count, and third-largest by enterprise value.  Ashford Trust has attempted to conduct good faith discussions with FelCor for the last several months.  However, even with a fully-executed non-disclosure agreement in place, FelCor has failed to meaningfully engage and has refused to provide customary information to allow Ashford Trust to fully evaluate this significant opportunity to unlock value for shareholders of both companies. As a result, Ashford Trust decided to make the proposal public in order to inform FelCor's shareholders of its intent.

In a letter to FelCor's Board of Directors dated February 21, 2017 and in an investor presentation presented that same day, Ashford Trust detailed the potential strategic and financial benefits of the proposed combination, including:

  • Significant value creation potential for both sets of shareholders;
     
  • Significant margin enhancements and G&A and operating synergies opportunities with the potential for material value creation;
     
  • Creation of the third largest pure-play lodging REIT by enterprise value with a larger and more diversified portfolio of 159 properties and 36,657 keys, limiting exposure to market specific volatility;
     
  • Enhanced size and scale of combined platform should enable a larger equity float and trading volume, expanded growth opportunities, and broad-based access to multiple sources of capital;
     
  • Strong balance sheet with flexibility;
     
  • Leading management team at Ashford Trust with proven track record of delivering significant shareholder returns; and
     
  • Strong alignment of interest with management through high insider ownership, backed by shareholder friendly corporate governance with further enhancements.

The Company also submitted to FelCor a proposed slate of director nominees to stand for election at FelCor's next annual shareholder's meeting.
 

APPOINTS DOUGLAS A. KESSLER AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

On February 21, 2017, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had appointed Douglas A. Kessler as the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective immediately.  Monty J. Bennett, the Company's previous Chief Executive Officer, remains Chairman of the Board of Ashford Trust.  Mr. Kessler was previously President of the Company. 

CAPITAL STRUCTURE

At December 31, 2016, the Company had total assets of $4.9 billion.  As of December 31, 2016, the Company had $3.8 billion of mortgage debt. The Company's total combined debt had a blended average interest rate of 5.4%. 

On October 10, 2016, the Company announced it had refinanced four mortgage loans with existing outstanding balances totaling approximately $415 million.  The previous mortgage loans that were refinanced had final maturity dates in April 2017, and the JP Morgan Chase Marriott Fremont loan had a final maturity date in August 2019.  The mortgage loans were refinanced through one new mortgage loan, totaling $450 million, with a two-year initial term and four one-year extension options, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions.   The new loan is interest only, provides for a floating interest rate of LIBOR + 4.55%, and contains flexible release provisions for the potential sale of assets.  The next non-extendable debt maturity for the Company is a $16 million loan that matures in June 2017.

On October 13, 2016, the Company announced that it had priced an underwritten public offering of 6,200,000 shares of 7.375% Series G Cumulative Preferred Stock at $25.00 per share. Dividends on the Series G Preferred Stock will accrue at a rate of 7.375% per annum on the liquidation preference of $25.00 per share.  

SELECT-SERVICE HOTEL PORTFOLIO SALES PROCESS

During the quarter, the Company closed on the sales of the 162-room SpringHill Suites Gaithersburg in Gaithersburg, MD for approximately $13.2 million ($81,000 per key) and the two-hotel portfolio comprised of the 151-room Courtyard Palm Desert and the 130-room Residence Inn Palm Desert for $36 million ($128,000 per key).  The Company will continue to pursue the opportunistic sales of its non-core, select-service hotels over time. Since the announcement of the strategy, the Company has sold nine hotels for approximately $218 million resulting in the paydown of approximately $153 million of associated debt.

PORTFOLIO REVPAR

As of December 31, 2016, the portfolio consisted of direct hotel investments with 123 properties.  During the fourth quarter of 2016, 105 of the Company's hotels were not under renovation. The Company believes reporting its operating metrics for its hotels on a comparable total basis (all 123 hotels) and comparable not under renovation basis (105 hotels) is a measure that reflects a meaningful and focused comparison of the operating results in its portfolio.  Details of each category are provided in the tables attached to this release.

  • Comparable RevPAR increased 1.6% to $109.35 for all hotels on a 1.5% increase in ADR and a 0.1% increase in occupancy
     
  • Comparable RevPAR increased 3.2% to $109.95 for hotels not under renovation on a 1.9% increase in ADR and a 1.3% increase in occupancy
     

HOTEL EBITDA MARGINS AND QUARTERLY SEASONALITY TRENDS

The Company believes year-over-year Comparable Hotel EBITDA and Comparable Hotel EBITDA Margin comparisons are more meaningful to gauge the performance of the Company's hotels than sequential quarter-over-quarter comparisons.  Given the substantial seasonality in the Company's portfolio and its active capital recycling, to help investors better understand this seasonality, the Company provides quarterly detail on its Comparable Hotel EBITDA and Comparable Hotel EBITDA Margin for the current and certain prior-year periods based upon the number of hotels in the Company's portfolio as of the end of the current period.  As the Company's portfolio mix changes from time to time so will the seasonality for Comparable Hotel EBITDA and Comparable Hotel EBITDA Margin.  The details of the quarterly calculations for the previous four quarters for the 123 hotels are provided in the table attached to this release.

COMMON STOCK DIVIDEND

On December 12, 2016, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 per diluted share for the Company's common stock for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2016, payable on January 17, 2017, to shareholders of record as of December 30, 2016.

The Board also approved the Company's dividend policy for 2017. The Company expects to pay a quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 per share for 2017, or $0.48 per share on an annualized basis.  The Board will continue to review its dividend policy on a quarter-to-quarter basis.  The adoption of a dividend policy does not commit the Board of Directors to declare future dividends or the amount thereof.

"We are hopeful that the FelCor Board of Directors will engage with us pertaining to a combination that we believe will result in significant value creation for both of our shareholders," commented Douglas A. Kessler, Ashford Trust's Chief Executive Officer.  "As it relates to our quarterly performance, we are pleased with the fourth quarter, which highlights the quality of our portfolio, our diverse market exposure and our exceptional asset management capabilities. Looking ahead, we are well positioned to capitalize on improving business sentiment and positive economic trends and remain committed to maximizing value for our shareholders."

To view full financial release and corresponding tables please click the PDF icon or visit:
http://www.snl.com/Cache/1500096229.PDF?O=PDF&T=&Y=&D=&FID=1500096229&iid=4088185

About Ashford Hospitality Trust

Ashford Hospitality Trust is a real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on investing opportunistically in the hospitality industry in upper upscale, full-service hotels.

Contact: Deric Eubanks, Chief Financial Officer; Jordan Jennings, Investor Relations

(972) 490-9600 / (972) 778-9487

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