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ELS: RV Reservation Growth Continues

January 26, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

ELS:TT logoEquity Lifestyle Properties Inc. (ELS) President and CEO Marguerite Nader said in an earnings conference call this morning (Jan. 26) that the company’s solid performance is the result of increasing the strength of the company’s operations.

“Our key demographic, the baby boomer generation, is turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day and we’re positioned to meet their needs,” she said. “We own great real estate locations with a strong demographic trend.”

The Chicago-based real-estate investment trust saw operating revenues increase $8.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter of 2014, and for the year revenue was up $39.5 million, according to the company’s earnings release issued Monday. Income from property operations was up $6.8 million for the quarter and $27.4 million for the year, and core property operating revenues and income were up for the quarter and the year.

ELS owns or has interest in 387 properties, a mix of RV and manufactured housing properties, in 32 states and British Columbia. It also operates the Encore and Thousand Trails resort chains.

RV revenue for the company grew by nearly 8% for the year, Nader said. “For the full year our RV portfolio did very well. Annuals, which represent two thirds of our occupancy, were up 5.9%. Seasonal growth was 10% and transient growth was 12%.”

Social media is an important tool for ELS to reach potential customers, Nader suggested.

She also said the Encore and Thousand Trails properties stand to benefit with a growing alliance with the world’s largest RV dealer. “Our partnership with LazyDays has strengthened as we’ve set up at their travel center,” Nader said, allowing ELS to reach RVers at the dealership’s new travel center in Florida. ELS staffs the brand-new site. “We’re excited about what we can do with that relationship,” she said.

The company expects to generate $45 million in the membership camping business, representing 27,700 memberships, in 2016, including 14,000 camping passes through the ELS RV dealer program, according to Paul Seavey, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Camping pass sales grew 18% last year, Nader said, and more and more of that is coming from online sales. “That has tremendous value for us,” Nader said. In addition, the company is working with Expedia to open new booking channels for its RV sites, she said.

ELS expects RV reservations for the first quarter to be up 5% for seasonal guests and 6.4% for transient guests, while for 2016 the company expects an overall transient revenue boost of 3.5% and 4% for seasonal guest income growth.

Nader noted that ELS has several properties in the acquisition pipeline.

Court Vacates $111.1m Penalty Against ELS

December 8, 2014 by · Comments Off on Court Vacates $111.1m Penalty Against ELS 

Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS), a major operator of RV parks and manufactured-housing communities in the U.S., announced that a judge granted a new trial to decide how much ELS will have to pay in a case involving a manufactured-housing community in California.

In April, a jury found ELS liable for failing to properly maintain its California Hawaiian property in San Jose. The jury ruled that ELS should pay $15.3 million in compensatory damages and a whopping $95.8 million in punitive damages, for a total of $111.1 million, an amount ELS CEO Marguerite Nader called “grossly excessive” when the court announced the figure.

According to ELS, on Friday (Dec. 5), “in the California Superior Court for Santa Clara County, Case No. 109CV140751, involving our California Hawaiian property, the Court has ruled on our post-trial motions and granted us a new trial on the issue of damages while upholding the jury’s determination of liability.

“As grounds for the ruling, the court cited excessive damages and insufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict as to the amount of damages awarded by the jury. The court’s ruling overturns the April 2014 verdicts of $15.3 million in compensatory damages and $95.8 million in punitive damages. We intend to continue to vigorously defend ourselves in the litigation,” the company announced.

CEO Nader Talks ELS RV Resort Boost

October 22, 2014 by · Comments Off on CEO Nader Talks ELS RV Resort Boost 

ELS:TT logoDuring Tuesday’s (Oct. 21) conference call on Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc.’s (ELS) third-quarter financial results, ELS CEO Marguerite Nader talked about the unexpected growth Chicago-based ELS has seen in their RV resorts this year.

“Within our RV platform our properties performed better than anticipated,” she said. “I believe it is helpful to take a step back to view the progress of our RV portfolio this year. We increased — we issued guidance last year anticipating a 3.8% increase in RV revenue. We’ve updated that projection throughout the year and now project to finish the year with a growth rate of 6.2%. From a marketing perspective, we’re driving new customers to our RV resorts. We have increased our presence at rallies, trade shows and travel websites. We’re focused on having a presence wherever an RVer is looking for their next vacation adventure.

ELS updates guidance

ELS updates guidance

“The transient component which is the most difficult to predict had performed well for us this year.” she explained. “Our transient business is concentrated in the summer months with over 50% of the full year revenue coming in from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The three key holiday weekends performed 12% better than last year. This additional revenue was driven by a combination of new customers visiting our resort, existing customers returning, and maximizing the rate increase where demand is high.

“We’re now turning our marketing efforts to our snowbird locations, where we’re seeing increase demand for our product offerings. Our reservation pace is up in all three categories of revenue, annual, seasonal and transient. We’re seeing the consumers’ behavior continuing to trend toward online decision-making and have adjusted our marketing efforts accordingly,” Nader said.

Looking ahead to next year, “we believe demand for our product is strong and we will continue to see the same positive trends from 2014 coming into 2015, including strength in our RV footprint and increased MH ownership transactions,” Nader said.

Looking at the Encore and Thousand Trails resort chains, CFO Paul Seavey said, “During the quarter we sold approximately 3,650 annual memberships an increase of almost 14% over last year. We refer to these annual memberships as zone park passes or ZPPs. Our year-to-date ZPP sales volume for 2014 is approximately 8,400 units, an increase of 10% compared to last year. Our RV dealer network generated 2,600 zone park passes in the quarter and 6,300 year-to-date. Our renewal rate for these RV dealer memberships is almost 20%.”

In their RV parks, Seavey said ELS expects 5% overall growth next year. “Our guidance assumes a 3% increase in both seasonal and transient revenue for 2015. Our first quarter generates just over 50% of our seasonal revenue for the year and approximately 20% of our transient revenue. Our current reservation pace is consistent with our guidance assumptions. Our membership business, which consists of right-to-use annual payment revenue, right-to-use contract sales and sales and marketing expense,s is expected to perform slightly better than 2014. In 2015 we expect to sell approximately 11,000 zone park passes and we expect the RV dealer program to generate 9,500 additional ZPPs,” he said.

During the question-and-answer session, Nader expounded on the recent RV parks ELS acquired in September and October. “We bought three RV properties in September from a distressed seller who had mismanaged the properties. These properties were, they were auctioned off online and we bought them for about I think they were about 800 sites for about $14,000 per site. One property is on Cape May (N.J.) located a few miles from another ELS community and one property is about 20 miles West of Cape May, and then the other is in New Hampshire. We have some work to do on these properties to bring them back just from an operations perspective and then with respect to the fourth property that we closed in October it is a 270 site RV resort that actually shares a property line with an MH property that we own on the east coast of Florida and the pricing on that was about $22,000 a site,” she said.

The transcript of the call is available here through SeekingAlpha.com, and a recording of the call is available through ELS here.

ELS Offers Camping To Lazydays Customers

August 25, 2014 by · Comments Off on ELS Offers Camping To Lazydays Customers 

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.35.22 AMLazydays has announced a new partnership with Encore and Thousand Trails RV Resorts, owned and operated by Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS) All customers who purchase an RV from Lazydays will now receive a 14-night Camping Card redeemable at any of the 173 Thousand Trails or Encore RV Resort locations in North America.

Lazydays is world’s largest RV dealership and places a strong emphasis on providing the best possible RV purchase, service and ownership experience to each of its valued customers. Thousand Trails and Encore RV Resorts offer year-round camping in the great outdoors with spacious campsites, hiking trails, fishing, resort-style amenities and family fun.

“This is a natural partnership for us,” said John Lebbad, chief marketing officer for Lazydays. “Our customers are big fans of the campgrounds offered by Encore and Thousand Trails RV Resorts, and we are excited about offering them true value with this camping card to enhance their overall RV lifestyle experience.”

Marguerite Nader, president and CEO of ELS, said, “We are excited about our Lazydays partnership. We share the vision of creating a quality first-class experience to those who enjoy traveling and the RV lifestyle. We look forward to providing Lazydays customers with new opportunities to explore some of the most desirable camping destinations through our network of RV resorts.”

RV Resort Grand Reopening Sees 500+

July 28, 2014 by · Comments Off on RV Resort Grand Reopening Sees 500+ 

More than 500 people attended the Lake & Shore RV Resort Grand Reopening on July 19 that featured refreshments, games, two bounce house obstacle courses and musical entertainment by the popular local Beatles cover band, Revolve!

According to a written announcement from parent company Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc., children enjoyed the planned activities that included a pool party, magician, slushie machine, prizes and a clown for face painting and balloon animals. The event highlighted the resort upgrades including an expanded beach area, renovated welcome center, new children’s playground, upgraded mini golf course and updated swimming pool.

The popular beach area was doubled in size. The mini golf course has new carpeting, landscaping and obstacles added. The final touches are complete on the new children’s playground equipment including new slides and swings. The resort’s Welcome Center features a completely renovated building that includes new flooring, painting, and lighting.

The event also celebrated the 45th Anniversary of ThousandTrails RV campgrounds, with more than 170 locations in 27 states.

Lake & Shore RV Resort is a family focused campground that offers cozy wooded sites and amenities including a waterpark swimming pool, hot tub, boating, beach fishing, bike trails, planned activities, kids’ activities and free Wi-Fi. The resort is located five miles from the famous Jersey Shore, 10 miles from historic Cape May, and 20 miles from Atlantic City.

ELS Reports Gains In Net Income, FFO

July 22, 2014 by · Comments Off on ELS Reports Gains In Net Income, FFO 

ELS:TT logoEquity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS) today (July 22) announced results for the quarter and six months ended June 30.

For the quarter, Funds From Operations (FFO) increased to $57.6 million, or 63 cents per share, compared to $50.8 million, or 56 cents per share, for the same period in 2013.

Net income available for common stockholders increased to $25.5 million, or 30 cents per share, compared to $17.9 million, or 21 cents per share, a year ago.

Second-quarter property operating revenues, excluding deferrals, increased $8.9 million to $178.4 million compared to $169.5 million for the same period in 2013. For the six months ended June 30, property operating revenues, excluding deferrals, increased $19.4 million to $364.8 million compared to $345.4 million for the same period in 2013.

For the quarter, income from property operations, excluding deferrals, increased $6.2 million to $100.7 million compared to $94.5 million for the same period in 2013. For the six months, income from property operations, excluding deferrals, increased $12.9 million to $211.6 million compared to $198.7 million for the same period in 2013.

Core property operating revenues increased approximately 2.9% in the quarter and income from core property operations increased approximately 4.1% compared to the same period in 2013. For the six months core property operating revenues increased approximately 3.4% and income from core property operations increased approximately 4.1% compared from the year prior.

Equity Lifestyle Properties reported that as of July 21, the company owns or has an interest in 379 properties in 32 states and British Columbia consisting of 140,303 sites. ELS is a self-administered, self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) with headquarters in Chicago.

Will Big Companies Keep Buying RV Parks?

April 2, 2014 by · Comments Off on Will Big Companies Keep Buying RV Parks? 

Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina in Florida is an ELS property.

Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina in Florida is an ELS property.

Anyone who’s spent time in the campground and RV park industry has seen the trend of more and more companies showing active — and growing — interest in the industry. Whether it’s hotel-industry veterans starting a new RV park franchise network (most recently Cruise Inn), hotel-software companies coming into the industry with reservation and management software (most recently Frontdesk Anywhere) or major companies shifting even more into RV parks from the manufactured-housing-community space, the landscape is changing.

There’s at least some “clustering” growing in RV parks and campgrounds, be it ownership (Carefree RV Resorts has 59 in the U.S. and Canada and RVC Outdoor Destinations is involved in 10) or well-established franchises Kampgrounds of America (KOA), which owns some parks in addition to the franchised ones, and Leisure Systems inc., which handles the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort franchise.

If you take a look at the most recent annual reports from two of those major real-estate/manufactured-housing players — Michigan-based Sun Communities Inc. and Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS) of Chicago — you’ll see that they aren’t slowing the pace of acquiring RV parks.

Sun Communities acquired six RV parks between November 2013 and February of this year. By comparison, they added only one manufactured-housing community. They spent $146.8 million on those seven properties, Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.59.13 AMwith the RV parks in New York, California, Maryland and New Jersey, according to the company’s year-end announcement. Looking at all of 2013, Sun acquired only one manufactured-housing community to 14 RV parks.

“Our focus on acquisitions in the RV marketplace is based in part on increases in the annual

shipments of RV’s, which are expected to increase by 6% in 2014 marking the fifth consecutive annual increase in shipments,” said Gary Shiffman, Sun’s chairman and CEO. “In addition, over 40% of demand for RV parks is from adults over 55 years of age which is a growing segment of our population,” Shiffman added.

The company has focused on areas like Florida, California and east-coast vacation sites, but plans to expand its geographic reach to help insulate Sun from regional economic issues, according to the annual report. “We continue to expand our properties utilizing our inventory of owned and entitled land (approximately 6,300 developed sites) and expect to construct approximately 800 additional sites in 2014, located primarily in Texas and Colorado, which have current occupancies in excess of 90%.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.59.28 AMELS expressed similar philosophies in its fiscal-year-end report for 2013, with their Thousand Trails and Encore RV resorts.

“According to various industry reports, there are approximately 50,000 manufactured home properties and approximately 8,750 RV properties (excluding government-owned properties) in North America. Most of these properties are not operated by large owner/operators, and of the RV properties approximately 1,300 contain 200 Sites or more. We believe that this relatively high degree of fragmentation provides us, as a national organization with experienced management and substantial financial resources, the opportunity to purchase additional properties as evidenced by the acquisitions during the year ended December 31, 2013,” according to the report.

ELS management personnel went on to say, “According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (“RVIA”), nearly one in nine U.S. vehicle-owning households owns an RV and there are currently 8.9 million RV owners. The 77 million people born from 1946 to 1964 or “baby boomers” make up the fastest-growing segment of this market.

“According to 2010 U.S. Census figures, every day 12,500 Americans turn 50. We believe that this population segment, seeking an active lifestyle, will provide opportunities for our future cash-flow growth. As RV owners age and move beyond the more active RV lifestyle, they will often seek more permanent retirement or vacation establishments,” ELS said in the report.

“According to 2010 U.S. Census figures, the baby-boom generation will constitute almost 19% of the U.S. population within the next 20 years. Among those individuals who are nearing retirement (age 46 to 64), approximately 59% plan on moving upon retirement.”

RV sales figures also play into the ELS strategy, according to the company. “We believe that consumers remain concerned about the current economy, and by prospects that the economy might remain sluggish in the years ahead. However, the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle has translated into continued strength in RV sales despite the economic turmoil. According to RVIA, RV ownership has reached record levels: 8.9 million American households now own an RV, the highest level ever recorded, which constitutes an increase of 12.7% since 2005. RV sales could continue to benefit as aging baby-boomers continue to enter the age range in which RV ownership is highest.”

ELS is trying to reach RVers, according to the report. “In the spring of 2010, we introduced low-cost membership products that focus on the installed base of approximately nine million RV owners. Such products include right-to-use contracts that entitle the customer to use certain properties. We are offering a Zone Park Pass (“ZPP”), which can be purchased for one to five zones of the United States and requires annual payments.” There’s no additional cost to stay at ELS properties in the zone, and “modest” payments can get users into additional zones. In 2013, ELS sold 15,500 of those passes, in part by teaming up with RV dealers, according to the company.

ELS Sees 4Q Rise in FFO; Income Dips

January 28, 2014 by · Comments Off on ELS Sees 4Q Rise in FFO; Income Dips 

Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS) reported fourth-quarter funds from operations, or FFO, increased to $54.9 million, or 60 cents per share, from $50.3 million, or 55 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Normalized FFO for the quarter was $56.6 million, or 62 cents per share, up from $50.5 million or 56 cents per share in the prior year period. Net income available for common stockholders decreased to $24.2 million from $24.3 million in the year-ago period. Earnings per share for the latest fourth quarter were 29 cents, same as last year.

Total revenues were $179.88 million, up from $165.31 million last year. Analysts expected revenues of $166.15 million.

The company also reported that during the fourth quarter it closed on the acquisition of one RV resort and, in January 2014, closed on the acquisition of two additional RV resorts for a total purchase price of approximately $31.5 million. These properties, located in Wisconsin, collectively contain 1,456 sites.

ELS is a self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns or has an interest in 379 quality properties in 32 states and British Columbia consisting of 140,298 sites.

To view the entire report click here.

ELS Buys Prime Keys’ Resort for $24.6 Million

September 18, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A view of some of the lots in Fiesta Key RV Resort in the Florida Keys. Photo courtesy of the resort’s Facebook page.

Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. announced on Tuesday (Sept. 17) the acquisition of Fiesta Key RV Resort, a premier 324-site RV resort and marina in the Florida Keys.

“With expansive views of the Gulf of Mexico, Fiesta Key RV Resort offers customers an outstanding RV destination and enhances our presence in this attractive destination market,” the company stated in a news release.

The purchase price for the property was approximately $24.6 million and was funded with available cash.

 

ELS Confirming EPS Guidance for Fiscal 2013

September 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on ELS Confirming EPS Guidance for Fiscal 2013 

ELS updates guidance

Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. updated its FY13 earnings guidance on Monday (Sept. 9). The company provided earnings per share (EPS) guidance of $2.46-2.56 for the period, compared to the Thomson Reuters consensus EPS estimate of $2.36, American Banking and Market News reports. Equity Lifestyle Properties also updated its Q3 guidance to $0.61-0.67 EPS.

Chicago-based ELS traded up 0.92% on Monday, hitting $35.26, as 395,197 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. has a one-year low of $31.59 and a one-year high of $42.86. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $37.03 and its 200-day moving average is $38.79. The company has a market cap of $2.939 billion and a P/E ratio of 31.31.

ELS last posted its quarterly earnings results on July 23. The company reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $176.75 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $174.40 million. On average, analysts predict that Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. will post $2.11 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Oct. 11. Investors of record on Sept. 27 will be paid a dividend of $0.25 per share. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.84%. The ex-dividend date is Sept. 25.

ELS has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Analysts at BMO Capital Markets cut their price target on shares of ELS from $42.50 to $41.00 in a research note to investors on July 25h. Finally, analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald cut their price target on shares of ELS from $77.00 to $38.50 in a research note to investors on July 19. They now have a hold rating on the stock.

One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $44.38.

 

 

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