Wyndham Worldwide (WYN)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 26, 2011 8:30 am ET


Margo C. Happer - Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

Thomas G. Conforti - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Stephen P. Holmes - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Executive Committee


Harry Curtis - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Christopher Agnew - MKM Partners LLC, Research Division

Charles Patrick Scholes - FBR Capital Markets & Co., Research Division

Steven Kent - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Joseph Greff - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Amanda Bryant - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Carlo Santarelli - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division



Welcome to the Wyndham Worldwide Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Today's conference is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] I will now turn the call over now to Margo Happer, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. Thank you. Ma'am, you may begin.

Margo C. Happer

Good morning. Thank you for joining us. With me today are Steve Holmes, our CEO; and Tom Conforti, our CFO.

Before we get started, I just want to remind you that our remarks today contain forward-looking information. This information is subject to a number of risk factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. These risk factors are discussed in detail in our Form 10-Q filed August 1, 2011, with the SEC. We will also be referring to a number of non-GAAP measures. The reconciliation of these numbers to GAAP is provided in a table to the press release, and it is available on the website -- of our investor relations website at wyndhamworldwide.com. Steve?

Stephen P. Holmes

Thanks, Margo, and good morning, everyone. We are pleased to report strong performance again this quarter. Compared with the prior year, third quarter revenues increased 14%, and adjusted EBITDA was up 19%. Adjusted EPS for the quarter grew close to 40%.

Each of our business units exceeded our expectations. The Wyndham Hotel Group benefited from RevPAR increases driven by improvements in both occupancy and rate. Wyndham Exchange and Rentals delivered strong results despite the turmoil in Europe and benefited from the acquisitions we made last year. And our timeshare business, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, once again exceeded expectations, delivering EBITDA growth of over 20%.

In terms of capital allocation, we committed $300 million to repurchase 10 million shares of our stock during the third quarter. In October to date, we have repurchased an additional 1.4 million shares for $40 million. This reflects our confidence in the growth and the sustainable cash flow of our businesses.

And as you saw from the press release, we have given you the first view of our 2012 outlook. We expect EBITDA growth of 6% to 8% and EPS growth of 10% to 14%. We expect 2012 free cash flow of $600 million to $700 million.

We will allocate capital to drive shareholder value, and that includes investing in our businesses, paying dividends and share repurchases. We have a well established proven track record of successful acquisitions. We know how to value businesses. We know how to integrate acquisitions, and we know how to build successful momentum.

Last year, we enhanced our fee-for-service revenue streams with 3 acquisitions in the rental space and one in lodging, totaling $232 million. Hoseasons, which we acquired in the first quarter of 2010, is now fully integrated into our systems, contributing to adjusted EBITDA 20%, ahead of our expectations last year. The other acquisitions, James Villa, ResortQuest and TRYP also outperforming our expectations, producing over 30% more EBITDA in 2011 than we expected when we completed the deals.

This year, our capital deployment has been more focused on share repurchases. Through October 25, we have invested over $715 million in share repurchases. We have reduced our weighted average diluted share count by $22 million -- or by 22 million shares or 12% from the third quarter a year ago.

Now moving to the business unit review. At the Hotel Group, industry fundamentals continued to improve, with the recovery tracking to our expectations. During the quarter, we saw continued improvement in both rate and occupancy, and we believe the overall health of the franchisee base continues to strengthen as we've seen improvement in bad debt trends. Tom will address this point in more detail later.

We had a number of significant hotel openings recently. Most notably, the Wyndham Grand at Bonnet Creek in Orlando, our wholly owned hotel, opened September 30 both on time and on budget. The hotel, located within the Walt Disney World resort gates, is managed by our Wyndham Hotel Management group and is next to our 1,149-unit Bonnet Creek timeshare resort. The hotel is being well received by both guests and vacation ownership members, and the transient booking pace has been robust.

Also in the Hotel Group, we continue to make significant progress on Apollo, our series of technology and business initiatives. These initiatives were designed to transform the reservation experience for consumers and to maximize our contribution to franchisee performance. We achieved a significant milestone recently with the completion of the content solicitation initiative. This involved a complete overhaul of the information and images of 7,000 properties worldwide.

The backbone of Apollo is the relaunch of our various hotel brand websites, which began this year with the Baymont and Travelodge brands. The conversion results have been terrific for these first 2 brands. We are planning a series of rollouts for the additional brands in the coming weeks with the majority of our hotel brands having new websites by the end of the year. This is one example of how we are working to enhance our brand positioning and value proposition.

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