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Robust momentum in key markets but marginal deleveraging

  • 02 Mar 17

FY16 results in line, restart of the dividend policy NHH published its FY16 results, in line with its annual targets and the market’s expectations. Sales were up 5.7% reported (+8% excluding FX) fuelled by Spain (+13.5% in sales) and Central Europe (+7.8%). The group was impacted by a lower contribution from Belgium (-15% in sales, occupancy -17.5% and RevPAR -13.5% in FY16, RevPAR +0.8% in Q4 despite easy comps) which continued to suffer from security concerns. In LatAm (+8% in sales excluding FX), NHH was impacted by negative FX (-€33m impact) while, as expected, Italy suffered from tough comps (Milan Expo held in 2015). At the group level, RevPAR (+5.8%, 79% explained by ARR) benefited from a strong pricing environment (+4.6%). Spain (+10.7% in sales lfl, +12.9% in RevPAR lfl) benefited from strong pricing power (+8.6%) and occupancy (+4%) with notable growth in secondary cities (+16% on average in sales lfl) followed by Barcelona (c.5% of rooms, +13%) and Madrid (c.7% of rooms, +5%). Central Europe proved solid (RevPAR +9.2% in FY16) with sales (+7.8%) helped by trade fair events. The lack of the Milan Expo in Italy in 2016 (17% of sales) is behind the 5.9% drop in RevPAR (-6% in ARR, flat occupancy) but, excluding this impact, Italy revealed healthy trends (+4.9% in RevPAR). The robust Netherlands (+6.5% in RevPAR) made up for the tough Belgium. EBITDA came in 21% above last year’s due to strong performances in Spain and Central Europe and despite the issues in Belgium (€-6.5m drop in EBITDA vs Plan) and FX in LatAm (-€5.9m impact at EBITDA level) translating into a rise of 160bp in the EBITDA margin (to 12.3%). For the first time since 2008, NHH posted a net profit of €11m (excluding capital gains vs a €3m loss in 2015) despite the €52.4m financial charges (62% of EBIT). The group resumed its dividend policy by announcing a €0.05 dividend after seven dry years. Ambitious 2017 targets NHH guided for sales growth of between 4.1% and 6.1% with a c.25% rise in 2017 EBITDA (of €220-225m) since management expects to harvest the benefits of its refurbishment and repositioning programme (74% of rooms on a 2015 room perimeter). The deleveraging remains the trickiest point So far, debt repayment has been held up by the €237m refurbishment/repositioning programme (completed at end 2016) which was financed by proceeds from non-core asset disposals (for €140m). As a result, net debt stuck at an elevated level (€747m, -€91m yoy) translating into a tight net debt/EBITDA ratio of 4.1x (vs 1.9x for Melia at end 2016), although lower than last year’s (5.6x). The average cost of debt was at 4.7% (€258m of debt maturity in 2018). In 2016, NHH completed a debt refinancing with the issuance of a €285m senior notes at a 3.75% coupon but the average cost of debt remained asphyxiating at 4.7%. The group guided for a net debt/EBITDA ratio of c.3-3.25x in 2017. If the sale of the hotel in New York is completed in H2 17, the ratio could drop to 3x. The acceleration of the debt repayment remains crucial for NHH to finance its room expansion in growing destinations (including in China with the recent setup of the JV with HNA under the Chinese brand Nuo Huan) as well as its direct online distribution, a strategic point to contain intermediary costs.

Improving fundamentals but still heavily leveraged

  • 20 Nov 15

NH Hoteles posted 9m 15 results slightly below our expectations, with a disappointing LatAm. In Q3, revenues rose by 8.3% on the back of robust RevPAR (+12.3% yoy, 87% explained by prices), stronger than in Q1 (+9.7%) and Q2 (+12%) and above the group’s FY15 target of 10%. Despite strong figures, Spain slowed down in Q3 (+14.2% lfl vs +17.9% in Q2) but was helped by price increases (+6.1%). Italy (RevPAR +29.2% lfl, +19.5% in 9m 15) benefited from a strong Milan, fuelled by the Expo (+19% in prices), where NH Hoteles operates 12 hotels (2.2k rooms). The Benelux (+14.1% in RevPAR lfl) enjoyed strong price increases (+9.5%) but also benefited from measures taken by the group including a new management team and a new segmentation since early 2015 towards more profitable rates. Central Europe stood out with a 6.8% drop in occupancy (RevPAR -1.5% lfl) marked by a quarter of low activity (Germany was impacted by renovations), also impacted by a postponed product positioning. LatAm (+7.8% in RevPAR vs +20.4% in Q2, -7.5% in occupancy) was hit by the depreciation of the Brazilian real, impacting Mercosur countries (the main feeder market). The operating leverage continued to improve (+24.9% in EBITDA, EBITDA margin of 11% vs 9.5% in Q3 14) despite cost increases caused by the implementation of the strategic plan (IT - and marketing-related investments notably). The group net loss was reduced by 67.2% from €42.4m to €13.8m in 9m 15. The FY15 EBITDA guidance was significantly revised up for FY15 from €200m to €250m.

Upbeat H1 15 figures confirm NH Hoteles' recovery profile

  • 30 Jul 15

NH Hoteles reported upbeat Q2 15 figures. While this was highly expected on the operating front, NH Hoteles’ strategic moves are paying off with margin recovery and positive RevPAR momentum in European cities. Q2 was marked by a continuing acceleration in RevPAR (+12% vs +5.8% in Q1, +4.1% in Q4 and +6.4% in Q3) which was mainly explained by price increases for the fifth quarter in a row (+11.2% vs +7.4% in Q1) while occupancy lagged but turned positive (+0.7% vs -1.5% in Q1) excluding in Spain (+6.1%). Central Europe experienced a 3.5% drop in occupancy (but +2.4% in RevPAR LFL) due to lower number of trade fairs while Latin America (-2.5% in volumes LFL but +20.4% in RevPAR) was impacted by the devaluation in Brazil, the main feeder market in Argentina. Consolidated Q2 15 group revenues rose by 6.8% LFL (+11.3% reported) while EBITDA improved by 25% (+27.8% reported) and the net recurring result by 86.7% (reported), largely shaped by the strong momentum in the Italian (RevPAR grew by 18.6% from +7% in Q1) and Spanish (+17.9% in RevPAR vs +6.5% in Q1) business units. The latter was strongly fuelled by a buoyant Madrid (+30.4% in RevPAR) and Barcelona (+16%). Lower numbers of rooms available due to refurbishments as well as lower management fees (several hotels left the portfolio in 2014 and 2015) have slightly weighed on the sales increase while impacts from portfolio changes were offset by FX movements. The Colombian Hoteles Royal generated €15.7m of sales in Q2 and €1.5m of EBITDA.