Year-over-Year 4th Qtr Occupancy and RevPAR Decreased
Hotel Operating Statistics
|MADISON, Wis., Feb. 22, 2006 - Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. (Nasdaq: WOLF):
Fourth Quarter Highlights:
For the fourth quarter, the company had a net loss of $(38.0) million and net loss per diluted share of $(1.26). The net loss for the quarter included the impact of the write-off of $43.2 million of goodwill in connection with the sale of 70% interests of the company's Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky Great Wolf Lodge resorts to the CNL joint venture. This one-time, non-cash charge resulted in a GAAP net loss for the period, which also included the effect of income tax expense due to the non-deductibility of the goodwill charge for income tax purposes. Excluding the goodwill adjustments, the CNL transaction valued the joint-venture assets at $114.5 million, which was $25.9 million in excess of the historical cost carrying value of the properties' fixed assets.
"We had a strong fourth quarter and achieved adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per share within our earnings guidance," said John Emery, chief executive officer. "The quarter was highlighted by the opening of our second resort in 2005, which is located in the Pocono Mountains near New York and Philadelphia. Our booking pace in 2006 is strong, particularly in the Eastern markets, creating a positive outlook for 2006. Importantly, our recently- opened properties in Poconos and Williamsburg both appear to be on track to achieve mid-teen or better unlevered returns, calculated as property EBITDA divided by historical gross cost of property and equipment."
"Our new Poconos resort is off to a great start," Emery noted. "The 2006 booking trends continue to exceed our expectations and year-to-date lead all of our properties. In fact, with over 50,000 room nights reserved to date, booking patterns at our Poconos resort are two to three times higher at this stage of the ramp-up phase than any property opened in recent years. We continue to look for ways to respond to our customers' needs; as an example, we are adding a full-service Starbucks Retail Coffee Store in the resort's lobby area, which will open shortly, a first for any of our properties.
"Our Kansas City resort also performed very well, showing continued strength after its ramp-up period," he commented. "Our Williamsburg resort also continues to ramp-up well. We soon will break ground on an $18 million expansion of the resort that will add 100 suites, a substantial waterpark addition and 5,000 square feet of new meeting space. Our Wisconsin Dells property also has performed satisfactorily in a very competitive market. The current booking pace for the property is 20 percent ahead of 2005, and we have a highly anticipated opening of our 38,000-square-foot waterpark expansion in the first quarter of 2006.
"Our Michigan and Ohio properties continue to be affected by the regional economic issues in the Midwest," Emery said. "Over the near term, we expect that these properties will operate below historical levels of rate and occupancy. However, over the long-term, we believe these properties will rebound to much stronger operating levels. We believe we have a good grasp of the current market conditions and are monitoring any changes in trends very closely. We have factored into our estimates the effect of the regional economic issues in setting our 2006 guidance."
"We also have further sharpened our focus on the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, Wis. We intend to increase our emphasis on group business to build mid-week revenues, and recently hired a new general manager who has significant experience in that market segment. Although the ramp-up for this property will continue slowly, we feel optimistic about its longer-term prospects," Emery said.
"For our portfolio of all properties, ADR, RevPAR, Total RevPOR and Total RevPAR increased year-over-year in the fourth quarter," said Emery. "On a same store basis year-over-year for the fourth quarter, ADR and Total RevPOR increased while occupancy, RevPAR, and Total RevPAR decreased, predominantly due to the markets in northern Ohio and Michigan.
Operating statistics for the company's portfolio of resorts for the 2005 fourth quarter were as follows:
(a) Same store comparison includes only properties that were open for the full periods in both 2004 and 2005.
CNL Joint Venture Update
During the 2005 fourth quarter, Great Wolf Resorts sold into the CNL joint venture the 309-suite Great Wolf Lodge - Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and the 271- suite Great Wolf Lodge - Sandusky, Ohio. Great Wolf Resorts owns 30 percent of the joint venture and retained 25-year licensing and management contracts on the properties.
The transaction occurred in several phases. Once the final phase is complete in the first quarter of 2006, the company will have received approximately $98 million in cash from the transaction.
"From time to time, we intend to monetize the value of our more mature assets, and use the proceeds to fund new development and for other corporate purposes," Emery said. "This strategy efficiently recycles our investment capital to our future development program and allows us to retain a substantial ownership stake and establish a more stable income stream of licensing and management fees."
Great Wolf Resorts opened two resorts and expanded another during 2005. The new resorts include the 401-suite Pocono Mountains Great Wolf Lodge, opened in late October; the 301-suite Williamsburg, Va., Great Wolf Lodge, opened in March; and a 77-condominium addition at the Wisconsin Dells this past summer.
The company also is wrapping up a $14.5 million waterpark expansion to the Wisconsin Dells property, which now is owned by the CNL joint venture. The waterpark will nearly double in size to 80,000 square feet, including many new rides and waterpark amenities. "We expect to open the expansion next month," Emery said. "Combined with our high service standards and guest satisfaction, we believe the property will be in its strongest competitive position since significant new competition entered the market several years ago.
"In addition, two Great Wolf Lodge resorts are scheduled to open in 2006," he said. The first opening will be a 406-suite property with a 94,000-square- foot indoor entertainment area in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, which is being built and will be owned by an affiliate of Ripley Entertainment, Inc. The property will be licensed and operated by Great Wolf Resorts, and is expected to open in April 2006.
The second opening is projected for late 2006. The resort is being built by the company's joint venture project with Paramount Parks, Inc. The 401- suite resort with a 92,000-square-foot entertainment area and 40,000-square- foot conference center will be adjacent to Paramount's Kings Island, one of the nation's top seasonal theme parks, in Mason, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Great Wolf Resorts will operate the resort and will maintain an 84 % equity position in the joint venture.
The company expects to break ground in 2006 on two previously announced resorts, both of which are expected to open in 2007, as well as the expansion at the Williamsburg resort. Those two resorts are:
Strong Capital Structure
"We have a very solid capital structure, with sufficient cash available to fund equity in our new development activities," said James A. Calder, chief financial officer. "More than 80 percent of our long-term debt is fixed, and our average debt maturity is approximately 14 years. Both of our new resorts are unencumbered by mortgage debt."
Key Financial Data
As of December 31, 2005, Great Wolf Resorts had:
* Total cash, cash equivalents, and restricted
cash of $58.1 million
Outlook and Guidance
Full year 2006
(a) For reconciliations of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted
net income (loss),
The net income (loss) and adjusted net income (loss) amounts above include approximately $2.8 million of additional depreciation expense, with an impact of approximately six cents per share, resulting from the company's restatement of fixed asset balances of the Williamsburg and Poconos resorts in the fourth quarter of 2005.
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted net income are non-GAAP financial measures
within the meaning of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations.
See the discussion below in the "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" section of
this press release. Reconciliations of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted net
income are provided in the tables of this press release.
Great Wolf Resorts will hold a conference call to discuss its fourth- quarter and full year 2005 results today, February 22, at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Stockholders and other interested parties may listen to a simultaneous webcast of the conference call on the Internet by logging onto Great Wolf Resorts' Web site, http://www.greatwolf.com, or http://www.streetevents.com, or may call (800) 240-2134, reference number 11052858. A recording of the call will be available by telephone until midnight on Wednesday, March 1 by dialing (800) 405-2236, reference number 11052858. A replay of the conference call will be posted on Great Wolf Resorts' Web site through March 22, 2006.
Great Wolf Resorts is the nation's leader in indoor waterpark destination resorts and owns and operates family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge® and Blue Harbor Resort® brands. The company is a fully integrated resort company and owns and/or manages Great Wolf Lodge resorts in: Wisconsin Dells, Wis.; Sandusky, Ohio; Traverse City, Mich.; Kansas City, Kan; Williamsburg, Va.; the Pocono Mountains, Pa.; and Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sheboygan, Wis. Great Wolf Resorts also has projects currently under construction or in pre-development in: Niagara Falls, Ontario; Mason, Ohio; Chehalis, Washington; and Grapevine, Texas.
The company's resorts are family-oriented destination facilities that generally feature 300 to 400 rooms and a large indoor entertainment area measuring 40,000 - 100,000 square feet. The all-suite properties offer a variety of room styles, arcade/game rooms, fitness centers, themed restaurants, spas, supervised children's activities and other amenities. Additional information may be found on the company's Web site at http://www.greatwolf.com.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Included in this press release are certain "non-GAAP financial
measures," which are measures of the company's historical or future performance
that are different from measures calculated and presented in accordance
with GAAP, within the meaning of applicable SEC rules, that Great Wolf
Resorts believes are useful to investors. They are as follows: (i) Adjusted
EBITDA and (ii) Adjusted net income (loss). The following discussion defines
these terms and presents the reasons the company believes they are useful
measures of its performance.
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted net income as calculated by the company are not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures by other companies. In addition, adjusted EBITDA (a) does not represent net income or cash flows from operations as defined by GAAP, (b) is not necessarily indicative of cash available to fund the company's cash flow needs, and (c) should not be considered as an alternative to net income, operating income, cash flows from operating activities or the company's other financial information as determined under GAAP. Also, Adjusted net income does not represent net income as defined by GAAP.
Management believes Adjusted EBITDA is useful to an investor in evaluating the company's operating performance because a significant portion of its assets consists of property and equipment that are depreciated over their remaining useful lives in accordance with GAAP. Because depreciation and amortization are non-cash items, management believes that presentation of Adjusted EBITDA is a useful measure of the company's operating performance. Also, management believes measures such as Adjusted EBITDA are widely used in the hospitality and entertainment industries to measure operating performance.
Similarly, management believes adjusted net income is a useful performance measure because certain items included in the calculation of net income may either mask or exaggerate trends in the company's ongoing operating performance. Furthermore, performance measures that include these types of items may not be indicative of the continuing performance of the company's underlying business. Therefore, the company presents Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted net income because they may help investors to compare Great Wolf Resorts' ongoing performance before the effect of various items that do not directly affect the company's ongoing financial performance.
Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward- looking statements. Many of these factors are beyond the company's ability to control or predict. Such factors include, but are not limited to, competition in the company's markets, changes in family vacation patterns and consumer spending habits, the company's ability to attract a significant number of guests from its target markets, the company's ability to develop new resorts or further develop existing resorts on a timely or cost efficient basis, the company's ability to manage growth, potential accidents or injuries at its resorts, its ability to achieve or sustain profitability, downturns in its industry segment and extreme weather conditions, increases in operating costs and other expense items and costs, uninsured losses or losses in excess of the company's insurance coverage, resolution of recently filed securities class action litigation against us and other defendants, and the company's ability to protect its intellectual property and the value of its brands.
Management believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, undue reliance should not be placed on any forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations. All written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to Great Wolf Resorts or persons acting on its behalf are qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. Further, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results over time unless otherwise required by law.
Great Wolf Resorts, Inc.
Alex Lombardo (Investors)
Erin Ruppenthal (Media)
|Also See:||Great Wolf Resorts Reports First-Quarter 2005 Net Loss of $2.3 million, Estimating Full Year 2005 Net Income of $5 to $8 million; Hotel Operating Statistics / May 2005|
|Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. Reports 2004 Earnings / February 2005|