LodgeNet Reports Results for Third Quarter 2011

  • LodgeNet Interactive Corporation
  • 10.26.11
LodgeNet Interactive Corporation (Nasdaq: LNET) reported quarterly revenue of $106.8 million compared to $113.8 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Operating Income increased 30.5 percent to $8.9 million versus $6.8 million during last year's third quarter. Net income attributable to common stockholders was a positive $0.02 per share, a significant improvement over the $(0.12) per share loss during the third quarter of 2010. Adjusted Operating Cash Flow(1) for the quarter was $27.0 million, which was at the high end of the Company's guidance range of $24 million to $27 million.

"We continued to deliver solid financial results in the quarter, all in line with our guidance," said Scott C. Petersen, LodgeNet chairman and CEO. "Two metrics were of particular significance. Hospitality revenue per room increased for the first time since the start of the economic recession; and, we generated positive net income based on our operating activities, a landmark result since the time of our strategic acquisitions in early 2007. We believe both of these milestones reflect the highly strategic position we occupy within the entertainment distribution industry as well as the value of our unparalleled market share in serving hotels across North America."

Key Highlights:

Revenue per Room Trend Turns Positive: Hospitality revenue per room for the quarter improved 1.3% versus last year, reversing a trend that has impacted the company since the beginning of the economic recession in 2008. This inflection point was the result of several internal initiatives as well as certain macro issues which impact our business:

  • VOD 2.0:  Our merchandising initiatives for our video on demand service continued to attract new buyers and increase Hollywood movie revenue per room with innovative marketing and tiered pricing.  The enhanced marketing programs, deployed in 1.1 million rooms, continue to increase browsing activity by 20 percent to 25 percent, lift buy rates by 10 percent to 15 percent, and improve theatrical revenue by approximately 5 percent. We also benefitted from more popular theatrical content being within our premium VOD window this year as revenue from the top five Hollywood blockbusters increased nearly $700,000 versus the prior year.
  • Diversified Hotel Services: Revenue from the sale of TV programming, Broadband Services, Advertising and System Sales increased 10.4 percent per room. Every product line generated revenue per room growth versus last year as we continue to leverage our extensive VOD room base to sell complementary services that benefit our hotel partners and drive incremental cash flows for LodgeNet.

Company Generates Positive Net Income:  LodgeNet delivered over $600,000 of Net Income available to Common Shareholders during the third quarter. Our improved bottom line performance was the result of a more diversified and stabilizing revenue stream and our continued focus on reducing operating expenses, including depreciation expense.  Over the last three years we have driven down the amount of capital we invest to upgrade an analog room to our higher generating high definition platform by over 50 percent, which has driven a corresponding decrease in our Depreciation and Amortization expense. In addition to this significant capital reduction, our strategic growth initiatives focused on selling more services and systems to hotels and hospitals, require significantly less capital, all of which will benefit both our cash flow and bottom line profitability going forward.

High Definition and Envision Room Growth Continues: During the third quarter, 8,800 additional rooms were installed with our High Definition (HD) interactive systems. Our HD platform continues to generate over 60 percent more revenue than our analog base. HD systems are now installed in over 290,000 rooms or 19 percent of our room base. The cost per room to upgrade these rooms to HD continues its significant decline. The average investment in the third quarter was $135 per room, a reduction of nearly 30 percent versus last year. During the third quarter, the number of rooms installed with the new Envision software increased to over 5,000 rooms. By subscribing to our Envision Apps, hotels can leverage the power of our interactive system to enhance their brand messaging, generate incremental cash flows from operational savings and higher revenues from guest services, in addition to providing a wide array of guest information. The enhanced interactive platform, launched earlier this year, has been well received by the hospitality sector and is being installed in marquee properties within the Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Joie de Vivre, Kimpton, Marriott and Starwood brands. We have over 14,000 additional rooms contracted to be installed with the Envision software. Presently over one-third of these hotels are subscribing to one or more Envision Apps at an average monthly rate of over $3.00 per room.

Product Innovation Continues: LodgeNet hosted its 4th Annual Customer Technology Symposium (CTS) at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in suburban Chicago. The event, entitled "Connecting Guests: Any Screen. Any Time," brought together industry-leading experts from a broad range of perspectives to help hoteliers understand how emerging technologies are affecting hotel operations and the guest experience in the "4-screen" world of interactive television, laptops, iPads/tablets and smartphones, so they can develop sound strategies for the future. At the conference, LodgeNet announced it had joined the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE). As part of DECE, LodgeNet aligns itself with more than 75 leading companies who have come together to create and operate UltraViolet(TM) a groundbreaking, open cloud-based ecosystem that allows consumers to create personal digital video libraries, with the freedom to access movies and TV shows both at home and on-the-go, across multiple devices.

Signed Starwood Agreement: In July, LodgeNet announced the extension of its strategic alliance with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. with the signing of a new multi-year agreement. The agreement grants LodgeNet a preferred provider status for its offerings to Starwood hotels for its new HD Envision platform, free-to-guest television programming, professional customization and technical services.

"We are very encouraged by our third quarter performance," said Frank P. Elsenbast, LodgeNet senior vice president and CFO. "In addition to the revenue and growth highlights discussed above, we also continued to reduce our cost structure and realized another quarter of double-digit reductions in our operating expenses. Our focus will continue to be on upgrading our analog base to the higher revenue generating HD interactive systems, layering high margin Envision Apps into those systems and driving our other growth initiatives such as Healthcare, which grew revenue by 17 percent during this quarter."

RESULTS FROM OPERATIONS THREE MONTHS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 VERSUSTHREE MONTHS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2010

Total revenue for the third quarter of 2011 was $106.8 million, a decrease of $6.9 million or 6.1 percent, compared to the same period of 2010.  Guest Entertainment revenue decreased $8.1 million, partially offset by a $1.2 million increase from our non-Guest Entertainment products and services.  The decrease in Guest Entertainment revenue resulted primarily from a 7.8 percent reduction in the average number of Guest Entertainment rooms served and a 5.2 percent decline in Guest Entertainment revenue per room. The rooms removed from our base during the quarter generated 37 percent lower revenue than our average room. The vast majority of these rooms did not switch to a different iTV provider, but were smaller hotels that chose to limit their media offering to only free TV content.  Guest Entertainment revenue per room benefited from an increase in the sale of theatrical movies due to our VOD 2.0 marketing initiatives and more popular Hollywood content. This improvement was offset by a decline in revenue from non-theatrical movies, TV on-demand programming, music, TV internet access and video games. On a per room basis, total Hospitality and Advertising Services revenue was 1.3 percent higher than last year's third quarter, driven by a 10.4 percent increase in revenue generated from non-Guest Entertainment services.  Hotel Services revenue was $33.6 million in the third quarter, a 7.2 percent increase versus last year on a revenue per room basis, driven primarily from price increases on cable television programming versus the prior year. System Sales & Related revenue per room improved 19.1 percent, driven primarily by programming fees, equipment sales and fees related to the early termination of a group of limited service hotels that elected to only provide free TV content. Additionally, our Healthcare subsidiary generated $2.6 million of revenue during the third quarter, an increase of $0.4 million or 16.7 percent, related to an increase in the number of beds receiving our recurring services as well as higher revenue on current quarter system sales and installations. The backlog of healthcare installations includes seven facilities.

Total direct costs (exclusive of operating expenses and depreciation and amortization discussed separately below) decreased $4.3 million or 6.6 percent, to $60.0 million in the third quarter of 2011 as compared to $64.3 million in the third quarter of 2010.  Direct costs declined primarily due to lower sales volume in our Guest Entertainment and Hotel Services product lines. Additionally, connectivity costs were lower as a result of bandwidth re-provisioning and renegotiating certain supplier agreements. Advertising Services fixed costs remained stable quarter over quarter.  Gross margin improved to 43.8 percent for the third quarter of 2011 as compared to 43.5 percent for the third quarter of 2010

System Operations and Selling, General and Administrative ("SG&A") expenses decreased $2.4 million or 10.6 percent, to $20.1 million in the third quarter of 2011 as compared to $22.5 million in the third quarter of 2010. Factors driving the improvement period over period include reduced system repair costs, professional services expenses, property taxes, and administrative labor from the workforce reductions instituted at the beginning of the year. Depreciation and Amortization expenses decreased 15.2 percent, to $17.1 million in the third quarter of 2011 as compared to $20.1 million in the third quarter of 2010. The decline was due to older assets becoming fully depreciated, lower cost systems being installed and the reduction in capital investments levels over the past years.

As a result of factors described above, Operating Income increased $2.1 million or 30.5 percent to $8.9 million in the third quarter of 2011 as compared to $6.8 million in the third quarter of 2010. Adjusted Operating Cash Flow (AOCF), a non-GAAP measure, decreased to $27.0 million for the third quarter of 2011 as compared to $27.9 million in the third quarter of 2010. As a percent of revenue, AOCF margin increased to 25.3 percent this quarter versus 24.5 percent for the prior year quarter.

Outstanding debt was $365.6 million at the end of third quarter of 2011 compared to $390.5 million at the end of third quarter of 2010. Cash as of Sept. 30, 2011 was $17.8 million as compared to $8.1 million on Sept. 30, 2010. Interest expense decreased $1.7 million or 21.4 percent to $6.4 million in the third quarter of 2011 versus $8.1 million in the third quarter of 2010. Our average interest rate for the third quarter of 2011 was 6.6 percent versus 7.5 percent last year.

Net income attributable to common stockholders was $607,000 for the third quarter of 2011, a 119.5 percent improvement compared to a net loss of $(3.1) million in the prior year quarter.  Net income per share attributable to common stockholders was $0.02 for the third quarter of 2011 (basic and diluted) versus a net loss per share of $(0.12) in the third quarter of 2010 (basic and diluted).

For the third quarter of 2011, cash provided by operating activities was $13.4 million as compared to $20.0 million in the third quarter of 2010. The reduction in 2011 cash flow was driven by a $7.2 million change in working capital as accounts payable balances are returning to more normalized levels. Cash used for capital investments was $6.1 million during the third quarter of 2011 compared to $4.7 million in the third quarter of 2010. During the quarter, the Company installed and converted 11,091 digital rooms, primarily High Definition interactive rooms, as compared to 7,552 rooms during the third quarter of 2010. Quarter over quarter, the average capital per High Definition room declined 29.3 percent, to $135 per room. The decrease in the average cost per HD room was primarily driven by lower component costs, reduced overhead burden and installations at larger hotels.


Outlook 

For the fourth quarter of 2011, LodgeNet expects to report revenue in the range of $100 million to $104 million. This guidance reflects a -5 percent to 0 percent decline in Guest Entertainment revenue and an increase of more than 10 percent in other Hospitality revenues, both on a per room basis.  Additionally, we expect Adjusted Operating Cash Flow to be in a range from $22.0 million to $25.0 million and Net Income (Loss) per common share in a range from $(0.20) to $(0.08). The Company also expects to install approximately 15,000 HD Envision rooms in the fourth quarter.

The Company will host a teleconference to discuss its results October 25, 2011, at 5:00 P.M. Eastern Time.  A live webcast of the teleconference will also be available and can be accessed on the LodgeNet website at www.lodgenet.com.  The webcast will be archived on the LodgeNet website for one month.  Additionally, the Company has posted slides at its website under the For Investors, Company Presentations section, which will be referenced during the conference call.


Special Note Regarding the Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information

To supplement our consolidated financial statements presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States ("GAAP"), we use Adjusted Operating Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow, which are non-GAAP measures derived from results based on GAAP.  The presentation of this additional information is not meant to be considered superior to, in isolation of, or as a substitute for, results prepared in accordance with GAAP.  Adjusted Operating Cash Flow is a non-GAAP measure which we define as operating income (loss) exclusive of depreciation, amortization, share-based compensation, restructuring and reorganization expenses and debt issuance costs.  Net Debt is our total outstanding debt less our cash.  These non-GAAP measures are key liquidity indicators but should not be construed as an alternative to GAAP measures or as a measure of our profitability or performance.  We provide information about these measures because we believe it is a useful way for us, and our investors, to measure our ability to satisfy cash needs, including one-time charges such as restructuring, reorganization or integration, interest payments on our debt, taxes and capital expenditures.  In addition, Net Debt provides an indication of our ability to remain in compliance with financial covenants.  Our method of computing these measures may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies.

 


    1 Total rooms served represents rooms receiving one or more of our services including rooms served by international licensees.
    2 Guest Entertainment rooms, of which 90 percent are digital, receive one or more Guest Entertainment Services such as movies, video games, music or other interactive services.
    3 HD rooms are equipped with high-definition capabilities.
    4 Television programming (FTG) rooms receiving basic or premium television programming.
    5 Represents rooms receiving high-speed Internet service included in total rooms served.
    6 Adjusted Operating Cash Flow is a non-GAAP measure which we define as Income (Loss) From Operations exclusive of depreciation, amortization, share-based compensation, restructuring and reorganization expenses and debt issuance costs.




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