Vail revenue up 38 percent; net loss little changed

Monday, October 10th 2005, 10:11 am
By: News On 6

AVON, Colo. (AP) _ North American ski operator Vail Resorts Inc. on Wednesday reported little change in its fourth-quarter net loss of $36.4 million but said overall revenue rose 38 percent with increases in on- and off-mountain operations.

The net loss, equal to $1 per share, reflected a $13 million loss on the sale of lodging businesses. It compared with a $36.3 million net loss, or $1.03 per share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004.

Vail Resorts' loss was $27.7 million, or 76 cents a share, excluding charges from early debt retirement and losses from business sales.

Analysts with Thomson Financial had estimated a 90-cent-per-share loss for the quarter.

Net revenue totaled $120 million, up from $87.1 million in the previous quarter. Mountain revenue, which consists of on-mountain sales, was up 8 percent; lodging revenue, up 8.8 percent; and real estate revenue, up $27.7 million to $72.8 million.

For the year, Vail Resorts reported net income of $23.1 million, or 64 cents a share, reversing its $6 million net loss, or 17 cents a share, in 2004. Revenue totaled $810 million, up from $727 million in the previous year.

``It turned out to be another spectacular year for Vail Resorts,'' said Adam Aron, chairman and chief executive officer, told analysts during a conference call.

Aron forecast net income of $34 million to $43 million in fiscal 2006, noting that ski season pass dollar sales were up 22 percent in a year-over-year comparison and airline passenger bookings into the area were up 5 percent in the same time frame.

``While these early reservation metrics are encouraging, it may be too soon to draw any firm conclusions,'' he said.

Aron declined to comment on lift-ticket prices at the company's numerous resorts the upcoming season.

Vail Resorts' stock declined 12 cents, or 0.42 percent, to $28.36 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Avon-based company owns and operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge ski areas in Colorado, Heavenly in Nevada and California, and Grand Teton Lodge Co. in Jackson, Wyo. It is the second largest ski operator in North America behind Intrawest Corp.