Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2020 adjusted funds from operations (FFO) per share of 23 cents, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents. The reported figure also plummeted 52.1% from the year-ago tally of 48 cents.
The company generated total revenues of $1.05 billion, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.2%. The top line, however, declined 24.3% year over year.
Results reflect adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has significantly hurt lodging demand, as governments started imposing travel restrictions and mandatory stay-at-home orders to curb the spread in the March-end quarter.
Behind the Headlines
During the first quarter, all owned hotel RevPAR (on a constant-dollar basis) fell 23.3% year on year to $147.31. First-quarter EBITDA slumped 59.6% year over year to $164 million.
During the quarter, transient room nights slipped 20% resulting in a revenue fall of 22%, underscoring the choppy business environment. Group room nights declined 25%, with a 25% decrease in revenues, for the quarter compared with the prior year. Notably, the company’s transient business, group business and contract business had accounted for roughly 61%, 35%, and 4%, respectively, of its 2019 room sales.
Balance Sheet Position
Host Hotels exited the first quarter with cash balance of $2.8 billion and FF&E escrow reserves of $165 million. As of the same date, its debt balance amounted to $5.3 billion. While the company has no significant maturities until 2023, its monthly interest expense is roughly $13 million.
Further, following the first-quarter dividend payment in April and other payments, the company has an adjusted cash balance of $2.5 billion.
Host Hotels repurchased 8.9 million shares at an average price of $16.49 per share, aggregating $147 million earlier in the quarter. The company has, however, suspended repurchases and anticipates the hold-up to remain in effect for the remaining of the year. Moreover, the company anticipates temporarily suspending or paying a nominal dividend until further notice.
Notably, Host Hotels’ debt is rated investment grade by its three rating providers — the S&P, Moody’s and Fitch. Nevertheless, on Mar 25, Moody’s lowered the company’s outlook from Stable to Negative but retained its Baa2 credit rating. On Mar 20, the S&P lowered Host Hotels’ outlook from Stable to CreditWatch Negative but retained its BBB- credit rating. Apart from this, on Apr 3, Fitch too downgraded the company’s credit rating from BBB to BBB-, while maintaining its stable outlook.
During the January-March period, the company invested around $131 million in capital expenditures. Of this, $76 million were return on investment (ROI) capital projects spend, and $55 million were renewal and replacement project expenditures.
Remarkably, for 2020, the company has now guided capital-expenditures spending of $450-$525 million, marking a $100-$125 million reduction from its prior range.
Key capital projects in those assets and markets that are expected to recover faster have been prioritized, like leisure and drive-to destinations, as well as the previously-announced major return on investment projects.
As of May 6, amid low occupancy levels and/or state mandates, operations have been suspended at 35 hotels in Host Hotels’ portfolio. Rest 45 hotels are operating at reduced capacity as long as these reap revenues over and above the incremental costs related to staying open.
The company noted that 1.5 million net group room nights for the year have been cancelled as of May 4, resulting in an estimated $630 million in total cancelled group revenues. Of this roughly 62% is room revenues. Additionally, about 90% of the group room revenues lost was for the first half of the year.
The company had average occupancy of 29% in March and estimates April occupancy of around 12% amid mandatory quarantines in many states. There has been rebooking of almost 12% of current-year group revenues, which had been canceled as of May 4. Majority have been rescheduled for the second half of the year.
Moreover, Host Hotels anticipates to reduce corporate expenses by 10-15% compared with initial February forecast. This would be done through reduced travel, compensation and other overheads.
Therefore, amid the rapid decline in lodging demand, Host Hotels is likely to keep focusing on significant expense reduction and strengthening of liquidity position to navigate through the challenging times.
Host Hotels currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
We, now, look forward to the earnings releases of other REITs like Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. (PK - Free Report) , Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG - Free Report) and The Macerich Company (MAC - Free Report) , which are slated to report quarterly numbers next week.
Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.
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