Disappointing Q, but asset sales will help close value disconnect $CPLG

Clearly a challenging Q and guide down from CPLG. To recap earnings, RevPAR decreased 6.1%, but adjusted EBITDA came in ahead of expectations at $46MM and street estimates of $36MM. However, due to an issue discussed more in detail below, as well as pressure on oil markets, the company reduced EBITDA guide to $155MM (down 13% from prior) and expects RevPAR to decline from -4.5% to -2.5% (from +1%).

This guidance assumes that disruptions that occurred in 2Q continue through the balance of the year (mgmt noted RevPAR was already down 5.1% Y/Y in July).

Disruption Event

From the call, it sounds like the company had issues with its “revenue management tools, customer interfaces and the administration of corporate and group bookings” which had an adverse impact on the business. This is run by Wyndham, which is technically the property manager on CPLG’s properties. CPLG noted because of this disruption, “there are several events of default under the management agreements relating to all of our wholly owned properties.” This also seemed to be the main driver of the guide reduction.

For the second quarter, total U.S. industry RevPAR grew 1.1%, and RevPAR performance in the upper midscale, midscale and economy chain scales in the quarter was 0%, down 0.7% and up 1.7%, respectively.

As a result of our 6.1% decline in comparable RevPAR for the second quarter, our comparable RevPAR Index declined 455 basis points.

We believe this underperformance is well outside normal expectations and reflects the impact of an adverse disruption to our business.

It remains to be seen what remedies will occur under this. Wyndham likely will fight these claims, but considering the disruption at CPLG one could envision that it is owed monetary damages from the lost earnings (and not to mention stock price).

For now, it will continue to pressure earnings… but I continue to think that misses the point of the whole story behind CPLG….

Asset Sales

The company’s asset sale program continues to go very well. To highlight some data points from the call:

  • Sold 3 hotels in May for $16MM
  • Sold 1 hotel in Illinois that was non-operational for $3MM
  • Sold 7 non-core hotels in July and August for $29MM, the average hotel-level EBITDA was 1,200bps below the company average
  • “We have 27 hotels under contract with qualified buyers, expected to generate over $100 million of gross proceeds at pricing in line with our initial expectations, which we expect to close by the end of the year”

Let’s recap what they’ve sold and announced thus far then:

This is clearly accretive to the equity, whether they pay down debt or buyback stock. A dollar of debt paid down is a dollar to the equity. 

So two questions we can ask ourselves is: What will the rest of the ~36 hotels be sold for?  And two, why don’t they find more hotels to sell?

Well, to answer question number two, it seems like mgmt is open to that:

“Given the early success we’ve seen in our noncore asset sales, we will continue to evaluate the composition of our portfolio in order to drive long-term shareholder value.”

If the rest of the hotels are sold at 20x EBITDA, we know they generate ~$5MM of EBITDA based on the presentation posted. That would be another $100MM in proceeds. This foots to management’s quasi-guide: 

“These hotels typically trade on revenue, and we’ve targeted a range of generally 1.5x to 2.5x revenue. To date, we have been well within that range, which could translate to potential gross proceeds of at least $250 million, if we are successful in disposing of the noncore portfolio in its entirety. “

Valuation

Given the fact that the asset sales have gone so well, I would strongly encourage more or a sale of the whole company at this point. We know from this chart there are a lot of hotels that have less than 25% EBITDA margins and those could be added to the list. 

In the meantime, I think the valuation on CPLG is fine, not overly compelling when solely looking on EV/EBITDA. Again, the real story is selling assets well above BV and closing the gap. Book value remains above $20/share. I think mgmt should focus on more sales to realize value.

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