Vail Resorts’ 3Q profit climb on increased revenue |

Vail Resorts’ 3Q profit climb on increased revenue

DENVER ” Vail Resorts Inc., a major North American ski operator, on Friday reported a 15 percent increase in third-quarter earnings as higher lift ticket prices offset a dip in skier visits.

The company, based in suburban Broomfield, also reported higher revenue in its lodging and real estate operations.

For the quarter ending April 30, Vail reported net income of $78.5 million, or $1.99 per share, up from $68.3 million, or $1.75 per share, in the previous third quarter.

Excluding stock-based compensation expenses in both quarters, net income was $79.6 million, or $2.02 a share, compared with $69.1 million, or $1.77 a share, in the previous third quarter, the company said.

Revenue totaled $369.5 million, up 8 percent from $341.4 million in the third quarter of 2006.

Mountain revenue was $308.7 million, up 5 percent despite challenging winter weather that hurt operations at both Colorado and California resorts.

Real estate revenue more than doubled to $17.1 million from $7.1 million, while lodging revenue rose 11 percent to $43.6 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had forecast a profit of $1.99 per share and revenue of $360.7 million.

In the first nine months, Vail Resorts reported net income of $95.7 million, or $2.44 a share, compared with net income of $77 million, $2.01 a share, in the first nine months of 2006. Revenue rose to $844 million, up 18 percent from $714.8 million in the previous nine-month period.

Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Robert Katz said he was pleased with the nine-month results – which reflected the entire ski season – despite a 1.1 percent decline in skier visits at the five resorts. Mountain revenue rose 7.8 percent largely due to higher lift-ticket prices, he said.

Shares of Vail resorts dropped 85 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $57.97 a share in early trading. In the past year, the price has ranged from $33.58 a share to $60.47 a share.

Vail Resorts owns and operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge ski areas in Colorado, Heavenly in Nevada and California, and the lodge near Jackson, Wyo.

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