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Whistler Blackcomb reports 1.6-per-cent, year-to-date revenue increase

Increased destination visits, strong start to summer help offset challenging winter
SUMMER STRENGTH An encouraging start to summer helped Whistler Blackcomb to a revenue increase in its third quarter. Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler

While skier visits declined nine per cent in the nine-month period ending June 30, 2015 compared to the same nine months last year, Whistler Blackcomb (WB) reported a 1.6-per-cent revenue increase in its 2015 third quarter results.

The increased revenue — $226.6 million compared to $223.1 million last year — is due to a strong mix of destination visits, higher prices and pre-committed sales, WB president and CEO Dave Brownlie said in an August 6 conference call.

"The resiliency of our business so far this year is a testament to the hard work of our people and the durability of our competitive strengths," Brownlie said.

WB's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the first nine months of the year was $89.7 million — 0.9 per cent lower than the same period last year.

"The change in adjusted EBITDA was primarily attributable to lower skier visits and higher operating expenses, as well as an increase in sales and marketing spending in the first quarter, offset in part by a significant improvement in our revenue per visit and strong growth in other visits," said Jeremy Black, WB's chief financial officer.

Total visits to the resort were down 6.6 per cent over the previous year to date — 1,989,000 compared to 2,130,000 in 2014.

But the number of people visiting the resort for other purposes rose by 18.4 per cent — from 185,000 to 219,000.

Revenue per visit was also up 8.8 per cent over last year — $113.96 per visit compared to $104.77.

Third quarter revenue - for the three months ended June 30, 2015 — grew by 2.1 per cent over the same period last year, from $34,510,000 to $35,229,000.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter grew 39.6 per cent — from $2.375 million last year to $3.315 million this year.

With its Q3 reportings, WB also declared a quarterly dividend, to be issued Aug. 28.

Stockholders of record as of Aug. 28 will be paid a $0.2437 dividend.

On August 7, investment dealers Raymond James boosted WB's target price from C$22.00 to C$23.00.

The company currently has an outperform rating on WB's stock.

Scotiabank's target price grew from C$21.00 to C$26.50.

In its report, the bank said it expects the fiscal 2016 to be "a meaningful year from a destination growth standpoint, driven by continued global macro improvements and a weaker" Canadian dollar.

CIBC increased its own target price on Whistler Blackcomb Holdings from C$22.00 to C$24.00.

The company has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of C$22.25.

The full financial statement can be found at