Strategic's Management Present At Deutsche Bank Hospitality & Gaming Conference (Transcript)

Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc (BEE)

Deutsche Bank Hospitality & Gaming Conference Transcript

November 10, 2011 1:05 PM ET


Diane Morefield – Chief Financial Officer


Tim Wengerd – Deutsche Bank


Tim Wengerd – Deutsche Bank

Welcome back from lunch everybody. My name is Tim Wengerd. I cover lodging here at Deutsche Bank with Carlo Santarelli with me right now is Diane Morefield, the CFO of Strategic Hotels. And before we get started just one note, there are cards like this in front of you and on these cards, there's a URL that allows you to post the anonymous questions and they will come up here to this IPAD and I can sift through them.

So about, about 20 minutes in I'll look to this bulletin board and see what your questions are. And with that, why don't we start with the thing that's on everyone's mind right now, this past week Strategic made an offer to for just some preferreds and why don't we just start by asking Diane and what she can tell us about that offer.

Diane Morefield

Okay. Sure. For those of you who have been following Strategic Hotels & Resorts, I'm sure you're well aware that we have been in a major balance sheet restructuring phase pretty much since the beginning of 2010.

We, at the beginning this is year, made a decision to early accelerate all of our debt maturities that actually were back ended maturities in 2011 and throughout 2012. And luckily we decided to go to the market and refinance all of our debt, that debt done literally the last deal closed, the last week of July just as the debt ceiling crisis elevated and the capital market shutdown.

So with all of the debt refinancings behind us and pushed out well into the future, the last stage of our balance sheet restructuring is our preferred stock. As of the end of the year, we will be 12 quarters in arrear on our preferred dividends and we also have looked at the level of preferred stock on her balance sheet and made a determination that we would like to right size it to a lower level than $370 million of par value on the balance sheet today.

So we on Monday went out with a formal tender that is two fold. We are offering to tender between roughly 3.7 million and 4.8 million shares of our preferred stock. It is at a price to the premium toward the stock had been trading and it's roughly between 25% and 33% of outstanding preferred.

If the tender is successful, we will pay -- we've declared that we will pay the catch-up dividend on the shares outstanding effective on June 15th for payment on June 29th of 2012, and that dividend is contingent on the tender being successful at its minimum level.

So that is the last stage in step of our balance sheet restructuring and we have plenty of liquidity to cover this tender with $300 million line of credit that is zero of it is outstanding other than the $2 million letter of credit and we have roughly $80 million of unrestricted cash on our balance sheet effective 9/30.

Tim Wengerd – Deutsche Bank

Thanks, Diane. And with that let's move into the 2012 outlook. Operators have offered a much wider guidance range heading into 2012 while the pace of group booking still looks good. At this point, what big picture trends make you optimistic about lodging in 2012 and what makes you more cautious.

Diane Morefield

Okay. Well, I mean, we are cautiously optimistic actually. We've -- we announced on our third-quarter call our group pace or group pace remains very healthy, year to date in 11 our group room nights are up 6% at rates higher, 5% higher than same time last year, and then for next year already are group pace for 2012 bookings is up 6% room nights and there is anomaly in two hotels that had very high rated group business this year that's bringing down the rate to 1%. However, if you exclude those groups, it's more like 8% in rate, so group pace is still very strong.

What, causes us to be cautious is on any given day, there's -- the stock markets down or there's uncertainty, in August, there was more talk of a risk of a double deep recession that seems to have subsided again, but generally we're seeing in our businesses and our bookings pretty favorable turns.

Tim Wengerd – Deutsche Bank

And then the strength of business transient this year has been particularly good. It's probably a story of 2011. How are changes in the mix of business affecting your portfolio right now and there's a little bit of talk on this on the third quarter of call, but is there any sort of potential that the AIG effect reemerges and that corporates are reluctant to spend at a nice resort.

Diane Morefield

Yeah. We are not seeing corporate group business pull back at all in '08, '09 and into the 2010, certainly financial services pulled back and there was an AIG effect. Financial services had always been the second largest category of our group business and our hotels that had dropped to 4 during those years. It's back up to 2. So we think that's behind us with most of the banks obviously paying back their TARP money.

So and then pharmaceuticals is our largest category. But group what we are experienced in our demographic generally whether it's group or transient is very healthy. Corporate America is generally healthy. They have a lot of cash, they're running their businesses and they're having group events.

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