Intrawest has record year 

Intrawest Corporation capped eight consecutive years of earnings growth with the announcement Monday of record results for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Total revenue for the year increased 13.9 per cent, to $922.8 million from $810.5 million, driven by strong performances in resort operations and real estate.

"We have had an excellent year on all fronts," Joe Houssian, chairman, president and CEO, said in a release. "Our core business, real estate and resort operations, are performing well in spite of the current economic slowdown. Barely into the new fiscal year, we already have real estate pre-sales worth $620 million due to close in 2002 and 2003. This provides a solid foundation for another successful year of growth ahead."

Officials told investment analysts they expect the company’s strong earnings to continue through next year despite the slowdown in the economy.

Revenue and operating profit from real estate sales increased 21.6 per cent and 28.3 per cent respectively for the 12 months ended June 30, compared with the previous year. Ski and resort revenue and EBITDA were both records for the company, increasing 10 per cent and 15.6 per cent respectively from the previous year.

For the fourth quarter, income from continuing operations was $6 million, compared to $3.3 million in the same period last year. Likewise, real estate revenue for the fourth quarter was up 9.9 per cent over last year, to $175.4 million.

However revenue from resort operations declined in the fourth quarter, from $72.8 million in 2000 to $66.8 million this year. The decline was mainly due to a slower end to the season at Whistler-Blackcomb, the company said in a release. Early season golf revenues were down this year and the 2000 ski season finished very strong. As well, season pass revenue was accounted for earlier in 2001 than in 2000 because of a stronger start to the season.

Whistler-Blackcomb had a record 2.14 million skier visits in the 1999-2000 season. The total for the 2000-01 season was down slightly but the exact figure has not been released publicly. Intrawest Vice-president Dan Jarvis said poorer snow conditions through part of the winter resulted in fewer day-skiers at Whistler-Blackcomb last winter. However, destination visitors increased.

"The decline in visits was due to the B.C. regional market, which is very sensitive to snow conditions," Jarvis said.

In addition to Whistler-Blackcomb, Intrawest owns nine other mountain resorts, including Copper Mountain in Colorado, Mountain Creek in New Jersey, Snowshoe in West Virginia, Stratton in Vermont, Mammoth in California and the Canadian resorts of Panorama, Tremblant, Mont Ste. Marie and Blue Mountain.

Skier visits in the United States hit a record 57.3 million last winter. Heavy early-season snowfalls, particularly in the east, were generally credited for the record.

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