Host Hotels & Resorts (HST)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 12, 2011 10:00 am ET


W. Edward Edward Walter - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Larry K. Harvey - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Gregory J. Larson - Executive Vice President of Investor Relations


Smedes Rose - Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division

Joshua Attie - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Ian Weissman - ISI Group Inc., Research Division

Jeffrey J. Donnelly - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Felicia R. Hendrix - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Michael Bilerman - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Joseph Greff - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Eli Hackel - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division



Good day, and welcome to the Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Greg Larson, Executive Vice President. Please go ahead, sir.

Gregory J. Larson

Thank you. Welcome to the Host Hotels & Resorts Third Quarter Earnings Call. Before we begin, I'd like to remind everyone that many of the comments made today are considered to be forward-looking statements under federal securities laws. These statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that could cause future results to differ from those expressed, and we are not obligated to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.

Additionally, on today's call, we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial information, such as FFO, adjusted EBITDA and comparable hotel results. You can find this information in today's earnings press release, in our 8-K filed with the SEC and on our website at

This morning, Ed Walter, our President and Chief Executive Officer, will provide a brief overview of our third quarter results and then will describe the current operating environment, as well as the company's outlook for the remainder of 2011.

Larry Harvey, our Chief Financial Officer, will then provide greater detail on our third quarter results, including regional and market performance. Following their remarks, we will be available to respond to your questions.

And now, here's Ed.

W. Edward Edward Walter

Thanks, Greg. Good morning, everyone. We are pleased to report another strong quarter of operating results despite the impact of Hurricane Irene on our East Coast hotels, and the headwinds emanating from global economic concerns over the last several months.

Let's start by reviewing the quarter and then we will offer some insights into the rest of 2011 and next year.

Our comparable hotel RevPAR for the third quarter increased 6.4%, driven by an improvement in our average rate of 3.7% combined with an occupancy increase of 1.9 percentage points. Our average rate for the quarter was at $169 and our average occupancy was nearly 76%, which is only 1.3 points shy of 2007 levels.

This performance fell slightly short of our expectations because of the arrival of Hurricane Irene in late August, which resulted in group cancellations in Washington and Philadelphia and the complete evacuation of the Marriott New York Downtown Hotel.

Altogether, the storm caused an approximately 60 basis point hit to our RevPAR for the quarter. In addition, as we mentioned last quarter, our comparable hotel results do not include the performance of the $1.7 billion of acquisitions we have completed over the last 15 months, which averaged better than 14% growth in the quarter.

Comparable hotel F&B revenue growth of 4% contributed to an overall revenue growth of 5.3% for the quarter. This increase, when combined with our comparable hotel adjusted operating profit margin increase of 110 basis points and the performance of our acquisition, resulted in a 28% increase in adjusted EBITDA to $212 million, an FFO per diluted share of $0.16.

On a year-to-date basis, comparable hotel RevPAR increased 6.3% driven primarily by rate improvement. Total year-to-date comparable revenue growth of 5.3%, combined with profit margins that increased 80 basis points, resulted in year-to-date adjusted EBITDA of $669 million, which represents an increase of over 23%, an FFO per diluted share of $0.57.

Year-to-date, FFO per diluted share was negatively affected by $0.03 for acquisition, debt repayment and impairment costs.

Business mix trends were generally favorable this quarter as we realized demand and rate increases in both our transient and group business. As in the past quarter, transient demand and rate were the primary drivers of RevPAR growth.

Overall, transient room nights for the quarter increased 3%, led by a 5.5% increase in Special Corporate demand. While retail rated room nights were down slightly, the segment still recorded solid revenue growth driven by a 6.5% increase in average rate.

The strong rate performance in this segment, combined with the rate increases in all other transient segments, contributed to an overall rate increase of more than 4%. The increase in both transient demand and average rate produced transient revenue growth of more than 7%.

Turning to our group business. We were pleased to see a 1.3% improvement in demand despite the weather-related cancellations. The increase was driven entirely by a nearly 15% increase in demand in our higher-rated corporate business, as the discount segments declined 6%.

The combination of average rate increases in our higher-priced segments and positive mix shift resulted in an overall increase in group rate of more than 3%. This increase in rate, combined with the demand improvement, resulted in a nearly 4.5% increase in group revenue for the quarter.

Despite the upheaval in the equity markets created by headlines about legislative gridlock and slow employment growth in the U.S. and sovereign debt risks in the EU, our outlook for the remainder of the year remains quite positive. Our fourth quarter group booking pace is quite solid compared with last year with bookings up over 2% and revenues ahead by almost 5%.

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