Vail Resorts posts strong season results, issues first-ever dividend

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO Earnings for Vail Resorts Inc.’s fiscal third quarter rose 5.6% behind strong demand and pricing power, and the only publicly-traded U.S. ski resort operator has issued its first-ever dividend.

EBITDA across the company’s resorts improved 17.3% year over year, while net income increased by 11.2%, excluding one-time expenditures.

Revenue from Vail’s owned hotel rooms increased 4%, driven by an increase in ADR of 4.7%. Overall occupancy for both owned hotel rooms and managed condominium rooms was relatively flat for the three months ended April 30, compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year, which is primarily attributable to the negative impact of the late Easter holiday on the mountain resorts business, which resulted in flat skier visitation.

Spring season pass sales through June 5 for the 2011-12 season are up 19% in units and 27% in sales dollars year over year.

Lodging segment EBITDA increased 58.2% on significant flow-through driven by enhanced focus on expense management, the company says. The company’s One Ski Hill Place in Breckinridge, Colorado, was a “huge success” in its first season of operation, driving higher ADR across the ski resort.

“The investments we made at our resorts, our focus on driving lift revenue and ancillary spending, as well as shifting guests to advanced purchased products, allowed us to report strong growth in resort reported EBITDA, despite an economy that continues to be in flux,” says CEO Robert Katz.

The quarterly dividend of US$0.15 per share of common stock, payable on July 18 to shareholders of record July 1, represents the first payment of a planned annual dividend of US$0.60 per share.