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Press release from CNW Group

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. Reports Fiscal 2011 Fourth Quarter and 2011 Year End Financial Results

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. Reports Fiscal 2011 Fourth Quarter and 2011 Year End Financial Results02:00 EST Tuesday, December 13, 2011Fiscal Year 2011 Exhibited Post-Olympic Recovery Bolstered by Increase in Regional Visitation Early Season Indicators and Conditions Suggest Continued Improvement Through Fiscal 2012WHISTLER, BC, Dec. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. (TSX: WB) (the "Corporation") today reported financial results for the fiscal 2011 fourth quarter and the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011.  On November 9, 2010, the Corporation completed its initial public offering and in connection with the offering, the Corporation acquired a 75% interest in each of Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership (together, the "Partnerships"). The Partnerships carry on the four season mountain resort business and operations ("Whistler Blackcomb") at the Resort Municipality of Whistler. The full fourth quarter and the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011 results are both discussed below.Highlights:Total visits returned to pre-2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (the "Olympic Winter Games") levels. In the year ended September 30, 2011, total visits increased by 15% over the prior year to 2.5 million as a result of skier visits increasing by 22% over the prior year to 2.0 million.Effective ticket price ("ETP", calculated as total ski-related lift revenue divided by total skier visits) for the 2010/2011 ski season increased by 6% from $44.57 to $47.06.In the year ended September 30, 2011, EBITDA was $75 million on total revenue of $216 million.In the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011, the Corporation had net earnings of $15 million or $0.40 per common share."We continue to be pleased with our post-Olympic recovery and we ended fiscal year 2011 on a solid financial footing driven by growth in regional visitation and effective ticket prices which led to increases in resort revenue and EBITDA"said Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Operating Officer of Whistler Blackcomb. "From a visitation perspective, we drove record regional skier visits, we saw a recovery in destination skier visits and we had strong year-round visitation" added Brownlie.Commenting on the fourth quarter and summer season, Brownlie added, "We had a successful summer. We are pleased with our increased revenue in the fourth quarter and we are encouraged by the continued recovery of the destination market to Whistler through our third and fourth quarters which we believe to be a precursor to continued strengthening of this market segment through 2012. We are particularly encouraged by strength in summer visitation to the resort from the US market which was up 24% from May to September compared to last year.""As was the case in the prior year, Whistler Blackcomb opened ahead of schedule on November 18, 2011 and as a result of snowmaking and our third snowiest November on record, we currently have over 7,000 acres of skiable terrain open and 5,280 of vertical feet available.Although it is still early, preliminary indicators, as of December 5, 2011, for the 2011/2012 ski season are positive" added Brownlie. "Our destination market is showing indications of a continued recovery with Whistler's accommodation sector experiencing a 17% increase in accommodation bookings compared to this time last year. This growth is being driven by increased bookings from our key destination markets, including the United States, Asia Pacific and the United Kingdom."Regarding regional market indicators, Brownlie commented, "Pre-booked lift revenue from the regional market, including sales from our spring and fall season pass and frequency card campaigns, continues to pace ahead of our 2010/2011 season. Our year-to-date season pass and frequency card sales are 8% ahead of this time last year."FISCAL 2011 FOURTH QUARTER AND 2011 YEAR END RESULTSFor the purposes of management's comparisons contained in this release, the results for the year ended September 30, 2011 are comprised of the Corporation's results for the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011 and the Partnerships' results for the period from October 1 to November 8, 2010.  The Corporation's results for the quarter ended September 30, 2011 are compared with the Partnerships' results for the quarter ended September 30, 2010.   Reference to the "venue agreement" means the agreement between the Partnerships and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games ("VANOC") that relates to revenues earned and recorded by the Partnerships in the quarter ended March 31, 2010 as consideration for providing access to certain facilities for the Olympic Winter Games. Reference to "Non-Material Subsidiaries" means certain other resort-related entities that were formed by the Corporation or acquired by the Corporation on November 9, 2010 in connection with its acquisition of a 75% interest in each of the Partnerships.  Revenues and expenses of the Non-Material Subsidiaries were included in the Corporation's net earnings from November 9, 2010 and there were no corresponding amounts in the Partnerships' results in the year ended or three months ended September 30, 2011.Revenue Resort revenue for the year ended September 30, 2011 increased by 20% over the prior year from $179 to $216 million, which represents a return to pre-Olympic Winter Games levels. Increased resort revenues were driven by the post-Olympic Winter Games recovery of total visits from 2.2 million to 2.5 million, including skier visits from 1.7 million to 2.0 million and the increase in ETP.  Included in ski lift revenue in the year ended September 30, 2011 were record season pass and frequency card sales totaling $39 million (which does not include $5 million of 1-day frequency cards).  Also included in resort revenue in the year ended September 30, 2011 was $5 million from the Non-Material Subsidiaries in the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011. Total resort revenue of $216 million in the year ended September 30, 2011 exceeded resort segment revenue of $212 million in the year ended September 30, 2010 including the $32 million the Partnerships earned from VANOC under the venue agreement.In the three months ended September 30, 2011, summer visitation was consistent with the same period in the prior year.  Resort revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2011 increased from $23 million to $26 million as a result of increased summer product lift ticket pricing and the inclusion of revenue of the Non-Material Subsidiaries.Operating ExpensesResort operating expenses for the year ended September 30, 2011 increased by 7% from $110 million to $118 million primarily as a result of increases in labour and benefit costs and other operating expenses. The increase in labour and benefit costs and other operating expenses in the year ended September 30, 2011 corresponded with the increase in skier visits over the prior year. Resort operating expenses of $20 million for the three month ended September 30, 2011 were consistent with the same period in the prior year.Selling, General and Administrative ExpensesSelling, general and administrative expenses for the year ended September 30, 2011 increased by 6% from $22 million to $23 million.Selling, general and administrative expenses of $6 million for the three months ended September 30, 2011 were consistent with the same period in the prior year.Resort Segment Operating Profit and EBITDA For the year ended September 30, 2011, EBITDA and resort segment operating profit both totalled $75 million on revenues of $216 million.Prior to the inclusion of the $32 million earned by the Partnerships under the venue agreement in the prior year, this represents an increase in resort segment operating profit of 58% and an increase in EBITDA of 159% over the prior year, respectively.  EBITDA in the year ended September 30, 2010 included a net expense of $19 million from real estate activities.After the inclusion of the $32 million earned by the Partnerships, the current year's resort segment operating profit and EBITDA of $75 million represents a decrease of 6% and an increase of 23% over the prior year, respectively.For the three months ended September 30, 2011, the Corporation incurred a loss before taxes, interest and depreciation and amortization of $0.1 million compared to a loss before taxes, interest and depreciation and amortization of $1 million in the same period in the prior year.Depreciation and Amortization ExpenseDepreciation and amortization expense for the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011 was $31 million. The increase in depreciation and amortization expense in the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011 over the year ended September 30, 2010 is the result of the Partnerships' property, buildings and equipment and amortizing intangible assets acquired by the Corporation being measured at amounts based on fair value as of November 9, 2010.  The amounts assigned to such assets in the Corporation's consolidated financial statements are higher than the Partnerships' historical cost of those assets, resulting in incremental depreciation and amortization expense.Depreciation and amortization expense for the three months ended September 30, 2011 increased by $4 million over the same period in the prior year for the same reason.Income Tax ExpenseThe Corporation's income tax expense for the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011 of $7 million is primarily comprised of the Corporation's income tax expense on its 75% share of the Partnerships' net earnings.  Also included in income tax expense are the expenses of the Partnerships' subsidiaries and the Non-Material Subsidiaries.  The Corporation's effective tax rate for the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011, as a percentage of net earnings before taxes and the non-controlling interest, was 18.6%.Non-Controlling InterestThe non-controlling interest in the Corporation's Statement of Earnings and Comprehensive Income represents 25% of the Partnerships net earnings that are attributable to the owners of the 25% interest in each of the Partnerships that the Corporation does not own.  This amount reduces the Corporation's net earnings and totaled $14 million in the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011.Net Earnings and Earnings Per ShareIn the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011, the Corporation earned $15 million or $0.40 per common share (basic and diluted). This does not include losses incurred by the Partnerships in the period from October 1, 2010 to November 8, 2010.  In that period, the Partnerships incurred a net loss of $8.5 million or a net loss before interest, taxes and depreciation and amortization of $7 million.Detailed financial results of the Corporation and Management's Discussion and Analysis as of December 13, 2011 ("MD&A") can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and the Corporation's website at www.whistlerblackcombholdings.com.Conference Call InformationManagement will conduct a conference call on December 13, 2011 at 8:30am (EDT) to review the Corporation's fiscal 2011 fourth quarter and 2011 year end financial results. The call can be accessed by dialing 1.800.510.0146 (Canada and US) or 1.617.614.3449 (International) prior to the start of the call. The access code is 39202496. A replay of the call will be available until December 20, 2011 and can be accessed at 1.888.286.8010 or 1.617.801.6888 (International). The access code for the replay is 38050042. The call will also be archived for a period of 60 days following the call in the Quarterly Financials section of the Corporation's website:  www.whistlerblackcombholdings.com.ABOUT WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. owns a 75% interest in each of Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership, which, together, carry on the four season mountain resort business located in the Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia.  Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the Olympic Winter Games, is situated in the Resort Municipality of Whistler located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia. North America's premier four-season mountain resort, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are two side-by-side mountains, connected by the world record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which combined offer over 200 marked runs, over 8,000 acres of terrain, 14 alpine bowls, three glaciers, receive on average over 1,170 centimetres (460 inches) of snow annually, and offer one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WB".  For more information, visit www.whistlerblackcombholdings.com. Additional information related to the Corporation is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.NON-GAAP MEASURESThis press release makes reference to certain financial measures other than those prescribed by Canadian generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP").  These non-GAAP measures are not recognized under GAAP, do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies.  These non-GAAP measures, which include EBITDA, are provided to the reader as additional information to complement GAAP measures and to further understand Whistler Blackcomb's results of operations from management's perspective and as a supplemental measure of performance that highlights trends in the business that may not otherwise be apparent when relying solely on GAAP financial measures.  Such non-GAAP measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of financial information reported under GAAP. Readers should refer to the Corporation's annual information form dated December 13, 2011 (the "AIF") and MD&A, which are available on our website and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, for additional details regarding the determination of these non-GAAP measures and reconciliation to financial information reported under GAAP.CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTSThis press release may contain forward-looking statements or information, within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws, including, but not limited to, the expectations, plans, goals, objectives, assumptions, information or statements about future events or conditions which may prove to be incorrect. Although the Corporation believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements and information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because the Corporation can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. The forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and assumptions made by the Corporation in light of its experience and perception of current conditions and expected future developments, and are subject to a number of significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, general economic, business and market conditions and other risks as are detailed in the AIF. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and the Corporation has no intention and assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by applicable Canadian securities laws.WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements(in thousands, except as indicated)For the period from November 9, 2010 to September 30, 2011WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.Consolidated Statements of Earnings and Comprehensive Income(in thousands, except per share amounts)                     November 9,   October 1,   Year      2010 to    2010 to    ended      September 30,    November 8,    September 30,      2011    2010    2010      (Successor)    (Predecessor)    (Predecessor)               Resort revenue      $ 211,825  $  3,902  $  179,259               Venue Agreement       -    -    32,328               Real estate revenue      240    -    13,086      212,065    3,902    224,673               Resort operating expenses      109,314    8,246    109,816               Depreciation and amortization      30,574    1,510    15,115               Selling, general and administration      20,527    2,574    21,856               Real estate expenses       145    53    31,691      160,560    12,383    178,478               Earnings (loss) from operations      51,505    (8,481)    46,195               Disposal gains (losses)      56    (63)    9               Finance income (expense), net       (15,700)    19    58               Net earnings (loss) before income tax and non-controlling interest      35,861    (8,525)    46,262               Income tax expense       (6,662)    -    (306)               Non-controlling interest       (14,095)    -    -               Net earnings (loss) and comprehensive income (loss)     $ 15,104  $  (8,525)  $  45,956               Net earnings per share               Basic     $ 0.40         Diluted     $ 0.40                       Weighted average number of common shares               Basic      37,865         Diluted      37,883       .WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.Consolidated Balance Sheets(in thousands)                 September 30,    September 30,      2011    2010      (Successor)    (Predecessor)           Assets                     Current assets:           Cash and cash equivalents     $ 27,878  $  19,681 Restricted cash       2,145    - Accounts receivable        3,204    14,244 Inventory       13,314    10,930 Prepaid expenses       3,922    1,828 Notes receivable        296    394 Due from partner and related parties        -    61,745      50,759    108,822           Notes receivable      2,946    3,047           Property held for development      7,554    2,609           Property, buildings and equipment      296,479    154,407           Intangible assets      255,857    3,297           Goodwill      98,422    -                $ 712,017  $  272,182           Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity                     Current liabilities:           Accounts payable and accrued liabilities      $ 23,955  $  24,172 Deferred revenue      18,804    15,725 Due to partner and related parties      -    72,214      42,759    112,111           Long-term debt       255,812    -           Future income tax liabilities      5,583    -           Partners' capital      -    160,071           Shareholders' equity           Preferred shares; no par value; unlimited number authorized; nil outstanding           Common shares; no par value; unlimited number authorized; 37,868 outstanding      440,694    - Contributed surplus      954    - Deficit      (33,785)    -      407,863    -     $ 712,017  $  272,182WHISTLER BLACKCOMB HOLDINGS INC.Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows(in thousands)                     November 9,    October 1,    Year      2010 to    2010 to    ended      September 30,    November 8,    September 30,      2011    2010    2010      (Successor)    (Predecessor)    (Predecessor)               Cash provided by (used in):                             Operations:               Net earnings     $ 15,104  $  (8,525)  $  45,956 Items not involving cash:                Non-controlling interest      14,095    -    -  Depreciation and amortization      30,574    1,510    15,115  Disposal (gains) losses      (56)    63    (9)  Stock-based compensation      954    -    -  Amortization of debt issuance costs      1,181    -    -  Future income tax expense      5,667    -    -      67,519    (6,952)    61,062 Recovery of costs through real estate sales      120    -    27,274 Changes in non-cash operating working capital       (7,924)    14,272    6,010      59,715    7,320    94,346               Financing:               Proceeds on issuance of common shares      300,000    -    - Share issuance costs      (17,887)    -    - Proceeds on issuance of long-term debt      261,000    -    - Debt issuance costs      (6,369)    -    - Distributions to non-controlling interest       (72,898)    -    - Dividends paid       (23,774)    -    - Advances (to) from partner and related parties, net      (10,661)    349    (360) Distributions to partners      -    (16,794)    (105,040)      429,411    (16,445)    (105,400)               Investing:               Business acquisition, net of cash acquired       (455,009)    -    - Expenditures on property, buildings and equipment      (7,217)    (728)    (7,441) Decrease in restricted cash      787    -    - Repayment of notes receivable      191    8    6      (461,248)    (720)    (7,435)               Increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents      27,878    (9,845)    (18,489)               Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period      -    19,681    38,170               Cash and cash equivalents, end of period     $ 27,878  $  9,836  $  19,681  For further information: Jeremy RocheSenior Manager, Investor RelationsWhistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. jroche@whistlerblackcomb.comPh: 604-938-7376