Premier Exhibitions, Inc. (PRXI)

F3Q11 (Qtr End 11/30/2010) Earnings Call

January 11, 2011 9:00 am ET

Executives

John Stone - CFO

Chris Davino - President and CEO

Analysts

Bill Vlahos - Odyssey Value Partners

Presentation

Operator

Good morning and welcome to Premier Exhibitions' third quarter fiscal year 2011 earnings results conference call. Today's conference is being recorded.

I will remind everyone that we will be making forward-looking statements on today's call. These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially. Please refer to the factors identified in our Form 10-K for the period ending February 28, 2010 and our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Now I'd like to turn the call over to Mr. John Stone, Chief Financial Officer of Premier Exhibitions, Inc.

John Stone

Regarding the third quarter results, obviously posting a gross profit margin loss is a painful thing. And I will walk you through the mechanics of what has occurred, the source of the problem as we have identified it, and then I'll let Chris talk more specifically about what we are going to do about that going forward.

First of all, we had all of our shares open during the second quarter, and by design kept them in place through Labor Day. By Labor Day, almost every show had been in market for its planned run and was scheduled to move, and we did in fact move thirteen of our shows in the third quarter.

So with starters, the third quarter was going to be challenging operationally to get all those shows moved and re-opened. And our team did a great job making all that happen. We would actually like to say thanks to them for all the hard work, creativity and determination to make that happen. But the cost and the downtime of so many moves had an impact on the third quarter results.

The second order of consequence of this dynamic moving so many shows is that all those shows opened in new markets. If you have been following us, you'll know that we opened touring Bodies shows in Oporto, Albuquerque, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Madison, Brasilia, Tulsa, Greensboro, Grand Rapids.

In addition, we opened touring Titanic shows in Kitchner, Ontario, Indianapolis, Tucson and London. By the way, half those new shows were self-operated, so they required a great deal more of our own working capital and a higher amount of human capital to basically open one or two shows every week for two-and-a-half months straight.

As we're going it alone so to speak in these self-operated shows, there is no one to share the many losses with if the shows don't perform as well as planned. With this kind of concentration of operating activity, we actually try to avoid it, but certain market forces have given us little options in the third quarter, particularly on the Bodies side of the business where the specimen license fees are at a fixed cost whether you are open to the public or you are holding them in storage. Quite literally, the show must go on.

How did all these new shows do? As you can see, many of these shows did not perform to our expectations. But it is key that you notice where in the business platform the failed shows occurred; in the touring portion of the Bodies business. Let me first make very clear how we are currently configured to operate in the event anyone hasn't already drawn this out for themselves.

And you can look at Table 5 in the press release and follow me if you'd like. Our current business is 22 concurrent shows, including 14 Bodies shows, seven Titanic shows and one Dialogue show. Within that, there are stationary shows and touring shows. So there are three stationary Bodies shows in New York, Atlanta and Las Vegas. There is one stationary Titanic show in Las Vegas, and there is one stationary Dialogue show in Atlanta.

As currently configured, all the stationary locations produce positive gross margin, and did so to the tune of about $1.3 million in the third quarter, $6.2 million for the nine months. By the way, these shows are not constantly moving, so there is a lower working capital demand and a lower human capital required in terms of G&A. So this part of the business is reliable, positive cash flow; fine. That leaves six touring Titanic shows and 11 touring Bodies shows.

First, the Titanic. We had managed to keep the Titanic shows moving largely in conjunction with museums and promoters as opposed to so many self-operated shows. And for the third quarter, these shows generated positive gross margin of about $600,000 and $4 million for the nine months. That leaves the touring Bodies business; 11 shows, or roughly half our total capacity. You'll see from the Table, this part of the business lost $2.4 million in gross margin in the third quarter, more than offsetting the profits from all other operations.

Not to mention, that many shows moving around has required the bulk of the attention of the people who constitute G&A. So while Bodies touring business made a positive contribution during the first half of the year, it struggled in the third quarter, based on weak performances of several of the new shows that recently opened.

Many of you may have noticed, we actually moved to close one of these shows early in light of what appeared to be continuing soft attendance after the initial few weeks of being open. Specifically, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Madison, Tulsa were new shows, and before them, Omaha, Cleveland, Sacramento, even Mexico City have underperformed. There is an important distinction here though between the results where we have partnered with the museum and a local promoter versus us going into an unbranded facility, particularly in some of these tertiary markets. Chris will get into this in greater detail.

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