Choice Hotels International, Inc. (CHH - Free Report) reported mixed results in first-quarter 2019, wherein earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues lagged the same.
Adjusted earnings of 84 cents per share outpaced the consensus mark of 75 cents by 12% and increased 25% from the year-ago quarter. This marked the company’s fifth straight quarter of earnings beat. Notably, the bottom line was aided by Choice Hotel’s core franchising operations.
Increased investments in midscale, upscale and extended-stay brands helped Choice Hotels to accelerate growth.
Choice Hotels International, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Total revenues were $218.3 million, which lagged the consensus mark of $222.4 million but increased 4% from the year-ago quarter. Markedly, the top line lagged estimates for the fifth consecutive quarter.
Let’s delve deeper into the numbers.
Details of Franchising & Royalties
Hotel franchising revenues improved 4.6% year over year in the first quarter. Adjusted EBITDA increased 8% from the prior-year quarter to $72.4 million.
Domestic royalty fees amounted to $75.6 million, marking a 5% year-over-year increase. Moreover, domestic system-wide RevPAR increased 0.7% year over year. However, average daily rate (ADR) declined 0.1% and occupancy decreased 30 basis points (bps) from the prior-year quarter.
The company’s newly executed domestic franchise agreements came in at 79 in the first quarter, which includes 32 new construction franchise agreements.
As of Mar 31, 2019, the number of domestic franchised hotels and rooms grew 2.1% and 1.8% year over year, respectively. Meanwhile, its extended stay domestic franchised hotels (as of Mar 31, 2019) grew 5% from a year ago.
In the reported quarter, total operating expenses totaled $163 million, down 0.1% from first-quarter 2018. Adjusted operating income increased 7.7% to $67.4 million and adjusted operating margin expanded 120 bps year over year.
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the first quarter were $31.8 million compared with $26.6 million as of Dec 31, 2018.
Long-term debt as of Mar 31, 2019 was $804.7 million, up from $753.5 million on Dec 31, 2018. Goodwill, as a percentage of total assets, was 14.1% at the end of the first quarter, down from 14.8% at 2018-end.
By the end of first-quarter 2018, Choice Hotels paid cash dividends of $12 million. Based on the current quarterly dividend rate of 21.5 cents per share, the company expects to pay dividends worth approximately $48 million in 2019. Meanwhile, management repurchased roughly $0.4 million shares under the share repurchase program during the quarter.
For the second quarter, adjusted earnings per share (EPS) are anticipated within $1.11-$1.15, lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same that is pegged at $1.18. Domestic RevPAR is expected between down 1% and up 1% from the year-ago period.
Choice Hotels now expects EPS between $4.06 and $4.18, up from prior expectation of $4-$4.13. The expectation is also higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.11, considering the mid-point of the guided range. Adjusted EBITDA projection is maintained within $354-$363 million.
Net domestic unit growth is expected to be 2-3%. Domestic RevPAR is now expected to grow between 0% and 1% versus prior projection of 0.5-2%.
Zacks Rank & Peer Releases
Choice Hotels currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Free Report) reported better-than-expected first-quarter 2019 results. This marked the 13th straight quarter of earnings beat. On the contrary, the top line surpassed estimates after missing the same for four consecutive quarters.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT - Free Report) reported mixed first-quarter 2019 results, wherein earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues lagged the same. Notably, the top line missed the consensus mark for the fifth straight quarter, while the bottom line surpassed the same for the third straight quarter.
Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Free Report) reported mixed first-quarter 2019 results, wherein earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues lagged the same. Markedly, revenues missed the consensus estimate for the fifth straight quarter.
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