Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. Announces Record Second Quarter and Year to Date Results

WHISTLER, BC, May 11, 2016 /CNW/ - Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. (TSX: WB) (the "Company") today reported record financial results for the second quarter and year to date period ended March 31, 2016.  The Company holds a 75% interest in and manages the entities that operate Whistler Blackcomb, the largest four-season mountain resort in North America.

Highlights

  • Total visits, which include skier visits and other visits, increased 26% to 2.0 million visits for the fiscal year to March 31, 2016, reflecting strong visitation from both regional and destination markets. Total visits for the fiscal year to May 9, 2016 increased 22% to 2.24 million.

  • Double-digit revenue growth in all key business divisions contributed to a 26% increase in total revenue to $241.8 million and a 34% increase in Adjusted EBITDA to $116.2 million for the fiscal year to March 31, 2016, representing the highest six month period revenue and Adjusted EBITDA in the Company's history.

  • Subsequent to quarter end the Company announced its $345 million Renaissance strategic plan ("Renaissance") which is designed to increase EBITDA over the long term by developing new weather-independent attractions in Whistler while elevating Whistler Blackcomb's core skiing and snowboarding experiences. Proceeding with Renaissance is subject to certain conditions, including government approvals, the renegotiation of the Company's master development agreements and master plans and negotiation of a business partnership with local First Nations.

Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, commented: "I am very pleased with our strong performance to date this year.  It has been a tremendously successful ski season with a strong rebound from our regional market and continued growth from our destination markets.  Our financial performance also demonstrated the significant operating leverage in our business, as well as the benefits from $53 million in growth capital investments over the past three years.  After quarter end, we announced our $345 million Renaissance project, which will further diversify our year-round operations, enhance guest experience and accelerate Whistler Blackcomb's long term growth and vision of becoming the number one mountain resort in the world." Mr. Brownlie continued:  "As the 2015-2016 ski season winds down we are shifting our focus to our summer business, which we believe is well positioned to see continued visitation momentum with our Whistler Mountain bike park opening on May 20th and a strong line-up of events in Whistler this summer."

Financial & Operating Results Overview
(In thousands, except Effective Ticket Price ("ETP") and per visit amounts)





Six months ended March 31,

Three months ended March 31,



2016


2015

% Change


2016


2015

% Change

Visit Metrics











Skier visits


1,919


1,517

26.5%


1,417


1,110

27.7%

Other visits


85


70

21.4%


43


36

19.4%

Total visits


2,004


1,587

26.3%


1,460


1,146

27.4%












Pricing Metrics











ETP

$

60.39

$

62.36

(3.2%)

$

61.70

$

64.51

(4.4%)

Revenue per total visit

$

120.65

$

120.63

0.0%

$

119.93

$

119.38

0.5%












Financial Results











Total revenue

$

241,789

$

191,444

26.3%

$

175,102

$

136,805

28.0%

Operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization


(104,737)


(87,944)

19.1%


(65,228)


(53,212)

22.6%

Selling, general and administrative


(20,903)


(17,105)

22.2%


(10,961)


(7,446)

47.2%

Adjusted EBITDA

$

116,149

$

86,365

34.4%

$

98,913

$

76,147

29.9%












Visit, Pricing and Financial Results Summary

  • The increase in skier visits for the three and six months ended March 31, 2016 compared to last year was attributable to strong growth in both regional and destination visitation resulting from certain factors including, increased sales and marketing initiatives in certain key markets over the past two years, the Company's $53 million in growth investments since the beginning of fiscal 2013, a return to more normalized snowfall during the 2015-2016 ski season, favourable foreign exchange rates and Whistler Blackcomb's leading resort rankings. Destination skier visits are estimated to have comprised approximately 49% and 45% of skier visits for the three and six months ended March 31, 2016, respectively, compared to approximately 53% and 49%, respectively, for the equivalent three and six month periods last year.

  • Revenue per total visit for the three and six months ended March 31, 2016 was consistent with comparative periods last year due to increased spending per visit in all of the Company's ancillary businesses offset by lower ETP. The ETP decrease in both the three and six month periods was attributable to higher utilization of season pass and frequency card products compared to last year, resulting in a lower yield on those visits, offset in part by increased lift ticket prices in 2016.

  • The increase in Adjusted EBITDA for the three and six months ended March 31, 2016 was driven by significant growth in visitation, as described above, combined with margin increases primarily as a result of the operating leverage inherent in the Company's business.

  • The increase in operating expenses for both the three and six month periods ended March 31, 2016 was primarily attributable to higher labour costs and retail and food and beverage cost of sales, which increased mainly due to higher business volumes and inflationary cost increases. For the three and six months ended March 31, 2016 the increase in selling, general and administrative expenses was principally due to a higher management incentive accrual and increased credit card fees associated with higher revenue, as described above.

Treasury Summary

  • As at March 31, 2016, the Company had long-term debt outstanding of $172.8 million, a decrease of $61.7 million, or 26%, compared to $234.5 million at September 30, 2015. The Company's cash and cash equivalents balance at March 31, 2016 was $7.8 million compared to $5.7 million at September 30, 2015.

  • Cash interest paid during the three and six months ended March 31, 2016 decreased by 8% and 7% to $2.0 million and $4.1 million, respectively, compared to the equivalent periods in the prior year principally due to the lower interest rate on the Company's credit facility and a lower average debt balance.

Season-to-Date Indicators

  • Total visits for the fiscal year to May 9, 2016 were 2.24 million, up 22% compared to the same period in the prior year. Total visits include skier visits for the 2015-16 season to May 9, 2016 of 2.14 million, up 22% compared to the same period last year.

  • Management estimated that total skier visits to date were comprised of 54% regional guests and 46% destination guests compared to 51% and 49%, respectively, in the comparative period last year.

Dividend

The Company's Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.24375 per common share for the second quarter, to be paid on May 31, 2016 to shareholders of record on May 24, 2016.  This dividend will be an eligible dividend for Canadian income tax purposes.

Non-GAAP Measures

This press release makes reference to Adjusted EBITDA and ETP, which are measures not prescribed by Canadian generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. These non-GAAP measures do not have standardized meanings and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as consolidated net earnings (including net earnings attributable to the 25% non-controlling interest) before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, as well as items that management does not consider part of the Company's normal operations, examples of which include significant non-cash gains or losses on disposal of property, buildings and equipment, acquisition or disposal expenses and gains or losses or restructuring expenses relating to acquisitions or disposals of businesses, impairment, restructuring or refinancing charges and reversals and other significant event-driven amounts as applicable. Adjusted EBITDA is provided as additional information to complement GAAP measures and to further understand the Company's results of operations from management's perspective. It is also a supplemental measure of performance that highlights trends in the Company's business that may not otherwise be apparent when relying solely on GAAP financial measures. Seventy-five percent of Adjusted EBITDA is attributable to WBHI shareholders, based on the Company's equity interest in the Partnerships. The closest GAAP measure is net earnings and a reconciliation is provided below.

ETP is defined as the Company's ski ticket yield-per-skier visit calculated as total ski-related lift revenue divided by total skier visits. Ski-related lift revenue and skier visits exclude revenue and visits from summer glacier skiing and other revenue amounts. The Company believes ETP is an important measure of operating performance because it allows management, investors and others to evaluate and compare the yield generated by ski lift tickets from period to period, and ski tickets are the Company's largest source of revenue and the core of its operations. The closest GAAP measure is revenue and a reconciliation is provided below. 

Non-GAAP measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of financial information reported in accordance with GAAP. Readers should refer to the Company's annual information form dated December 11, 2015 and its most recent Management's Discussion & Analysis, which are available on the Company's website and under the Company's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com, for additional details regarding non-GAAP measures.

Reconciliation of Net Earnings to Adjusted EBITDA

The following table reconciles Adjusted EBITDA to the Company's most directly comparable GAAP measure, net earnings:






(In thousands) 

Six months

ended March

31, 2016

Six months

ended March

31, 2015

Three months

ended March

31, 2016

Three months

ended March

31, 2015






Consolidated net earnings

$

66,851

$

42,085

$

65,628

$

46,658

Depreciation and amortization

21,192

20,946

10,712

10,618

Finance expense, long term debt

4,752

7,244

2,580

4,218

Finance expense, Limited Partner's interest

5,081

4,303

2,781

2,051

Income tax expense

18,106

12,055

17,162

12,628

EBITDA

$

115,982

$

86,633

$

98,863

$

76,173

Other income

-

(238)

-

(26)

Other expense

167

-

50

-

Adjusted EBITDA

$

116,149

$

86,395

$

98,913

$

76,147






The following table reconciles ETP to our most directly comparable GAAP measure, revenue:






(In thousands, except ETP) 

Six months

ended March

31, 2016

Six months

ended March

31, 2015

Three months

ended March

31, 2016

Three months

ended March

31, 2015






Revenue

$

241,789

$

191,444

$

175,102

$

136,805

Less: Non-ski lift revenue

(125,905)

(96,846)

(87,680)

(65,194)

Total ski lift revenue

$

115,884

$

94,598

$

87,422

$

71,611

Divided by: Total skier visits

1,919

1,517

1,417

1,110

Effective Ticket Price

$

60.39

$

62.36

$

61.70

$

64.51











Conference Call Information

Management will conduct a conference call on May 11, 2016 at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time / 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time to review the Company's fiscal 2016 second quarter results. The call can be accessed by dialing 1.800.319.4610 (Canada and US) or 1.604.638.5340 (International) prior to the start of the call. A live webcast and 30 day replay of the conference call will be available in the Presentation & Webcasts section of the Company's website.

ABOUT WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.

The Company holds a 75% interest in each of Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership (the "Partnerships"), which, together, carry on the four season mountain resort business located in the Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia (the "Resort Business"). The Company is the operating general partner of the Partnerships and as such manages the Resort Business. Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, is situated in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, 125 kilometres (78 miles) north of Vancouver, British Columbia. North America's largest four-season mountain resort, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are two side-by-side mountains, connected by the world record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which combined offer over 200 marked runs, over 8,000 acres of terrain, 14 alpine bowls, three glaciers, receive on average over 1,163 centimetres (458 inches) of snow annually, and offer one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WB".  Additional information is available on the Company's website at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/holdings or under the Company's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release and the associated conference call and webcast, which include a business update, second quarter results and a question and answer session, may contain certain forward-looking statements or information, within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws, which reflect the current view of the Company with respect to future events and financial performance. Forward-looking statements can often be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may", "will", "would", "could", "should", "expect", "intend", "estimate", "anticipate", "plan", "foresee", "believe" or "continue" or the negatives of such terms or variations of them or similar terminology. All forward-looking statements made by the Company are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made and represent management's best judgment based on facts and assumptions that management considers reasonable. The forward-looking statements and information contained in this press release and the associated conference call and webcast are based on certain factors and assumptions made by management of the Company including, but not limited to: the estimated capital to be invested in Renaissance, Renaissance further accelerating the Company's vision to become the number one mountain resort in the world and building on its year-round appeal to all guests, business conditions, availability of capital resources, its ability to successfully renew its MDAs and master plans in a timely manner and on commercially reasonable terms, economic and financial conditions, the success obtained in developing new facilities and activities and the performance of such facilities and activities, guest visitation, the Company benefiting from capital investments, visit momentum, and weather, among others. These forward-looking statements and information are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated including, but not limited to, satisfaction of conditions precedent to the commencement and completion of Renaissance (not all of which are in the Company's control), potential lack of availability of financing on terms satisfactory to the Company, unfavorable economic conditions, decreases in leisure and business travel, seasonality of operations, capital expenditures, currency fluctuations, reliance on agreements with the Province of British Columbia to operate the Resort Business, unfavourable weather conditions, competition from other resorts, dependence on key employees and seasonal workforce, workforce risks, the impact of natural disasters, risks related to the credit facility and interest rate risks, adequacy of insurance coverage, litigation or governmental investigations, safety and accident risks, environmental laws and regulations, risks related to privacy laws, information technology and the processing of credit card information, negative publicity or unauthorized use of the Company's trademarks or trade names, risks relating to growth projects and acquisitions, risks relating to third party interests and risks relating to an investment in the common shares of the Company, including with regard to dividend payments and future sales or issuances of common shares of the Company.  A more detailed description of these risks is available in the Company's most recently filed annual information form and management's discussion and analysis, which are available on the Company's website and at www.sedar.com under the Company's SEDAR profile.

Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements or information prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements and information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements or information because the Company can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. 

These forward-looking statements and information are made as of the date of this press release, and the Company has no intention and assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by applicable Canadian securities laws.

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.
Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income 
(Unaudited, in thousands, except per share amounts)










Six months

ended March 31,

 2016

Six months

ended March 31,

2015

Three months

ended March 31,

2016

Three months

ended March 31,

2015













Resort Revenue


$

241,789

$

191,444

$

175,102

$

136,805







Operating expenses


104,737

87,944

65,228

53,212

Depreciation and amortization


21,192

20,946

10,712

10,618

Selling, general and administrative


20,903

17,105

10,961

7,446



146,832

125,995

86,901

71,276







Earnings from operations


94,957

65,449

88,201

65,529







Other income


-

238

-

26

Other expense


(167)

-

(50)

-

Finance expense, long term debt


(4,752)

(7,244)

(2,580)

(4,218)

Finance expense, Limited Partner's interest


(5,081)

(4,303)

(2,781)

(2,051)







Net earnings before income tax


84,957

54,140

82,790

59,286







Income tax expense


(18,106)

(12,055)

(17,162)

(12,628)







Net earnings and comprehensive income


$

66,851

$

42,085

$

65,628

$

46,658







Net earnings and comprehensive income:













Attributable to Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. shareholders


$

49,566

$

32,005

$

47,187

$

33,274


Attributable to Limited Partner's non-controlling interest


17,285

10,080

18,441

13,384



$

66,851

$

42,085

$

65,628

$

46,658







Earnings per share






Basic


$

1.30

$

0.84

$

1.24

$

0.87

Diluted


$

1.30

$

0.84

$

1.23

$

0.87







Weighted average number of common shares outstanding






Basic


38,119

38,034

38,152

38,042

Diluted


38,239

38,155

38,287

38,156







 

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.
Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Financial Position
(Unaudited, in thousands)







March 31,

2016

September 30,

2015

Assets




Current assets





Cash and cash equivalents


$

7,778

$

5,682


Accounts receivable


16,521

3,783


Income taxes receivable


-

210


Inventory


16,615

22,590


Prepaid expenses


3,083

4,215


Notes receivable


315

153



44,312

36,633

Notes receivable


462

624

Property, buildings and equipment


311,299

315,312

Property held for development


9,244

9,244

Intangible assets


283,882

290,009

Goodwill


142,343

142,343



$

791,542

$

794,165





Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity




Current liabilities





Accounts payable and accrued liabilities


$

36,655

$

28,793


Income taxes payable


14,333

-


Provisions


1,859

1,701


Deferred revenue


16,510

27,974



69,357

58,468

Other liabilities


3,656

3,691

Long-term debt


170,517

232,436

Deferred income tax liability


27,286

26,089

Limited Partner's liability


72,796

72,796

Total liabilities


343,612

393,480

Share capital


444,714

443,290

Contributed surplus


1,644

1,485

Deficit


(59,700)

(90,666)

Total Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. shareholders' equity


386,658

354,109

Non-controlling interest


61,272

46,576



447,930

400,685



$

791,542

$

794,165





 

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.
Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
(Unaudited, in thousands)





Six months ended

March 31, 2016

Six months ended

March 31, 2015




Cash provided by (used in)






Operations






Net earnings and comprehensive income

$

66,851

$

42,085




Adjustments for:




Income tax expense

18,106

12,055


Finance expense on long-term debt

4,752

7,244


Finance expense on Limited Partner's interest

5,081

4,303


Depreciation and amortization

21,192

20,946


Disposal losses (gains)

167

(105)


Share-based compensation

618

464


116,767

86,992




Interest and swap installments paid on long-term debt

(4,138)

(4,438)

Finance expense paid on Limited Partner's interest

(4,543)

(4,567)

Income taxes paid

(2,366)

(3,413)

Changes in non-cash operating working capital

(9,610)

(16,346)





$

96,110

$

58,228




Financing



Dividends paid on common shares

(18,600)

(18,543)

Distributions to Limited Partner's non-controlling interest

(2,589)

(2,813)

Repayment of long-term debt

(81,000)

(18,000)

Draws on long-term debt

19,312

7,000

Proceeds from issuances of common stock from stock option exercises

965

-

Debt issuance costs

(380)

(382)


$

(82,292)

$

(32,738)




Investing



Expenditures on property, buildings, equipment and intangibles

(11,817)

(19,671)

Proceeds from sale of property and equipment

95

176

Repayment of notes receivable

-

145


$

(11,722)

$

(19,350)




Cash and cash equivalents, end of period



Increase in cash and cash equivalents

2,096

6,140

Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period

5,682

8,410


$

7,778

$

14,550




SOURCE Whistler Blackcomb

For further information: David Wilcox, Manager, Finance & Investor Relations, Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc., dwilcox@whistlerblackcomb.com, ph: 604.938.7376

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