Orient-Express Hotels' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Orient-Express Hotels ( OEH)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 24, 2012 10:00 a.m. ET

Executives

Amy Brandt - IR

Bob Lovejoy - Chairman and Interim CEO

Martin O'Grady - VP and CFO

Filip Boyen - COO

Analysts

Joe Greff - JPMorgan

Sule Sauvigne - Barclays Capital

Carlo Santarelli - Deutsche Bank

Amanda Bryant - Susquehanna Financial Group

Ross Haberman - Haberman Management Corporation

Richard Stone - Worldcom

Thomas Sheehan - Thomas S. Sheehan Inc.

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call for Orient-Express Hotels. Today's call is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Amy Brandt. Please go ahead.

Amy Brandt

Thanks, Stephie. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today for the fourth quarter 2011 earnings conference call for Orient-Express Hotels. We issued our earnings release last night. The release is available on our website at orient-expresshotelsltd.com, as well as on the SEC website.

On the call today are Bob Lovejoy, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer, Filip Boyen, Chief Operating Officer, and Martin O'Grady, Chief Financial Officer.

Before we get started today, I would like to read out our usual cautionary statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 in the United States. In the course of our remarks to you today, by Orient-Express Hotels management and in answering your questions, they may make forward-looking statements concerning Orient-Express Hotels such as its earnings outlook, future investment plans and other matters that are not historic facts.

We caution that actual results of Orient-Express Hotels may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Information about factors that could cause actual results to differ is set out in yesterday's news release, the company's latest annual report to shareholders and the filings of the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I'd now like to turn the call over to Bob.

Bob Lovejoy

Thank you very much, Amy, and good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us today.

The fourth quarter completed a year of good financial and operating progress for Orient-Express. During the quarter, we continued to experience healthy demand for our luxury, hospitality and adventure travel properties around the world. And in the fourth quarter, our total revenues excluding real estate increased by 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 to $135.9 million and our adjusted EBITDA before real estate increased by 31% to $21.2 million.

Same store RevPAR increased by 11% in US dollars and 15% in local currency and the company's adjusted net loss from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was $9.1 million compared to $15.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

For the full year 2011, total revenues excluding real estate increased by 17% to $587.3 million and adjusted EBITDA before real estate increased by 29% to $110.4 million. Also for the full year 2011, Orient-Express had adjusted net earnings from continuing operations of $4.7 million compared to an adjusted net loss from continuing operations in 2010 of $22.4 million.

Operating improvements in the fourth quarter were led by strong performances particularly at Charleston Place in South Carolina and at the Copacabana Palace in Rio. For the full year, our leader performers were the Cipriani in Venice, the Copacabana Palace and the Grand Hotel Timeo in Sicily. In 2011, 14 of our business units achieved their best ever, full year adjusted EBITDA results.

Our latest revenue and bookings figures continued to show a positive demand picture. For the month of January, albeit a relatively small month, total revenue before real estate was 12% ahead of last January. Currently, revenue from owned hotels both achieved and on the books for the full year, 2012 is 8% above where we were at this point last year.

Over the course of the year 2011, the combination of a $25 million increase in adjusted EBITDA before real estate and a nearly $40 million decrease in net debt, has resulted in a reduction of the company's ratio of net debt to adjusted EBITDA before real estate from 6.7x to 4.8x. This allowed us to achieve a target we set a few years back of reducing net debt to adjusted EBITDA before real estate to less than 5x by the end of this year.

During the fourth quarter we disposed of our excess air rights at the '21' Club for almost $16 million and in January 2012 we continued our program of strategic dispositions with the sale of Keswick Hall and the related golf and real estate assets for gross proceeds of $22 million.

As we have previously discussed we intend to continue with a program of sales of selected assets, retaining management where we consider it strategically and financially advantageous to do so and we plan to use the proceeds of sales to invest in our market-leading properties and to continue to reduce debt. We have an interim target to bring debt down to under 3.5x adjusted EBITDA before real estate within the next two years.

We are continuing at the same time to invest and enhance value in our existing market-leading properties. In the fourth quarter of 2011, we completed the refurbishment of 26 rooms and a restaurant at the Copacabana Palace in Rio and we refurbished 46 keys at La Samanna in St. Martin. I just returned from St. Martin on Monday and I want to tell you that the new keys came out exceptionally well and our guests are very pleased.

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