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Press release from GlobeNewswire (a Nasdaq OMX company)

Meritage Homes Reports Strong Third Quarter 2012 Results

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meritage Homes Reports Strong Third Quarter 2012 Results04:55 EDT Thursday, October 25, 2012SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Oct. 25, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH), a leading U.S. homebuilder, today announced third quarter results for the period ended September 30, 2012.Summary Operating Results (unaudited)(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)                Three Months Ended September 30,Nine Months Ended September 30,  20122011%Chg20122011%Chg Homes closed (units) 1,197 840 43% 2,998 2,374 26% Home closing revenue  $ 334,880  $ 217,534 54%  $ 820,242  $ 615,154 33% Average sales price - closings  $ 280  $ 259 8%  $ 274  $ 259 6% Home orders (units) 1,204 906 33% 3,701 2,656 39% Home order value  $ 366,752  $ 245,235 50%  $ 1,060,910  $ 701,861 51% Average sales price - orders  $ 305  $ 271 13%  $ 287  $ 264 9% Ending backlog (units)       1,618 1,060 53% Ending backlog value        $ 489,522  $ 288,523 70% Average sales price - backlog        $ 303  $ 272 11% Net income/(loss)  $ 6,784  $ (3,235) n/m  $ 10,035  $ (9,332) n/m Diluted EPS $ 0.19 $ (0.10) n/m $ 0.30 $ (0.29) n/mManagement comments "Our results for the third quarter improved across the board, reflecting the benefits of our superior community locations, fresh new product designs and industry-leading energy efficiency. We reported strong year over year increases in home closings, revenue, margins and earnings, as well as home orders, backlog and lot count," said Steven J. Hilton, chairman and chief executive officer of Meritage Homes. "We generated net income of $6.8 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012, which was negatively impacted by a charge of $8.7 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for a reserve related to ongoing litigation over one former joint venture project in the Las Vegas area, which is likely to remain unresolved for the foreseeable future. These results reflect a significant improvement over the third quarter of 2011, when we reported a net loss of $3.2 million, or ($0.10) per diluted share.  "We've been in the early stages of a recovery in the homebuilding industry since the beginning of this year, and Meritage has reported 39% growth in total orders over 2011 during that time, with September being our eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year increases in orders," he continued. "We believe the improving homebuilding industry could serve as a catalyst to help our national economy grow. We have raised additional capital over the past two quarters to take advantage of anticipated opportunities for growth, and have been deploying that capital to acquire more lots and open new communities. At this time, we expect to close between 4,100-4,300 homes in 2012."Third quarter 2012 operating results compared to 2011 Net income increased $10.0 million over 2011 to $6.8 million ($0.19 per diluted share) in the third quarter of 2012, compared to a $3.2 million loss in the prior year. The 2012 results included a previously announced $8.7 million charge to increase reserves related to pending litigation surrounding the Nevada joint venture known as South Edge, as explained in an 8-K filed on September 6, 2012, and $417,000 of impairments, compared to impairments of $1.0 million in the prior year.   Home closing revenue increased 54% due to a 43% increase in home closings and an 8% increase in average price over the prior year period.       Total closings of 1,197 homes for the third quarter was the highest quarterly total since the second quarter of 2010. California and Arizona achieved the highest increases in closing revenue, at 209% and 79%, respectively, compared to the third quarter of 2011. Home orders increased 33% and combined with a 13% increase in average selling price for a 50% increase in total order value over the third quarter of 2011. Total active communities increased to 153 at September 30, 2012, compared to 149 at September 30, 2011. Average orders per community during the quarter increased 27% over the prior year to 7.9, compared to 6.2 in 2011. Excluding operations in Nevada that are winding down, the states with the highest orders per community were California, at 12.7; Colorado, at 11.0; and Florida, at 10.1. The greatest accelerations in orders per community over 2011 were in California and Arizona. Cancellation rate decreased to 13% in the third quarter of 2012, compared to 17% in the third quarter of 2011, below our historical average cancellation rate in the 20-25% range. Ending backlog of orders was up 53% over the prior year, and the total value of orders in backlog was up 70%, aided by an 11% increase in average price per home Home closing gross margin increased to 18.6% in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 17.5% in the third quarter of 2011. Margins increased due to sales price increases and construction overhead leverage, partially offset by increases in various cost components.   Commissions and selling expenses decreased by 140 basis points from the prior year, to 7.7% of home closing revenue in the third quarter of 2012, compared to 9.1% of home closing revenue in the third quarter of 2011, as higher closing revenue resulted in greater leverage of the fixed components within selling costs.   General and administrative expenses for the third quarter of 2012 decreased by 200 basis points to 5.6% of total revenue in 2012, compared to 7.6% of total revenue in 2011.   Interest expense decreased to $5.0 million or 1.5% of revenue in the third quarter of 2012, despite additional debt issued during the quarter, compared to $7.5 million or 3.5% of revenue in the third quarter of 2011. A greater portion of interest incurred was capitalized to assets under development, and interest expense leverage improved with increased revenue.   Pre-tax margin increased 340 basis points to 2.0% in the third quarter of 2012, despite the litigation-related charge which reduced pre-tax margin by 250 basis points, as compared to a (1.4%) pre-tax margin in the third quarter of 2011.Year to date 2012 operating results compared to 2011 Net income of $10.0 million for the first nine months of 2012 included a $5.8 million loss on early extinguishment of debt and $1.6 million of impairments, in addition to the $8.7 million charge related to litigation surrounding the South Edge joint venture, and a $4.8 million net tax benefit primarily due to the reversal of most of a valuation allowance previously recorded against the company's deferred state tax asset in Florida. By comparison, the $9.3 million loss in the third quarter of 2011 included $2.3 million of impairments and a tax provision of $560,000.   Pre-tax income increased $14.0 million to $5.2 million in the first nine months of 2012, from a pre-tax loss of $8.8 million in the first nine months of 2011. Adjusted pre-tax income excluding the loss on extinguishment of debt, impairments and the charge related to the South Edge litigation was $21.3 million for the first nine months of 2012, compared to an adjusted pre-tax loss of $6.5 million, excluding impairments, for the same period in 2011.   Home closings and closing revenue increased 26% and 33%, respectively, for the first nine months of 2012 as compared to 2011.   Year-to-date home closing gross margins improved by 60 basis points to 18.2% for the first nine months of 2012, compared to 17.6% for 2011.   Year-to-date net orders through September 30, 2012 increased 39% in 2012 over 2011, and combined with a 9% increase in average sales prices to result in total order value increasing 51% year over year.Balance sheet items Cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and securities at September 30, 2012, totaled $386.9 million, compared to $333.2 million at December 31, 2011 and $357.2 million at September 30, 2011.   Net increase in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and securities of $182.2 million during the third quarter of 2012 resulted from increased closings and net proceeds from capital transactions, partially offset by land spending and increases in real estate assets. Raised approximately $87.1 million in net proceeds from an equity offering of 2.65 million common shares in July of 2012. Raised approximately $122.3 million in net proceeds from the issuance of $126.5 million aggregate principle amount of 1.875% convertible senior notes due 2032, in September of 2012, with a 47.5% conversion premium. Cash spent on land and development during the third quarter of 2012 totaled $114.1 million, including the purchase of 2,129 lots. Total real estate assets of $1.0 billion at September 30, 2012, compared to $815.4 million at December 31, 2011 and $798.1 million one year ago. Ended the quarter with 17,842 total lots under control, of which 85% were owned, compared to 17,586 at June 30, 2012 and 16,049 at September 30, 2011, a net increase of approximately 1,800 lots over the prior year.   Put in place a $125 million credit facility for additional liquidity to finance growth. Nothing was drawn on the facility through September 30, 2012.   Net debt-to-capital ratio at September 30, 2012 was 36.0%, compared to 33.4% at September 30, 2011.Conference call Management will host a conference call today to discuss the Company's results at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time (7:30 a.m. Pacific Time). The call will be webcast by Business-to-Investor, Inc. (B2i), with an accompanying slideshow on the "Investor Relations" page of the Company's web site at http://investors.meritagehomes.com. For telephone participants, the dial-in number is 877-317-6789 and the conference number is 10019347. Participants are encouraged to dial in five minutes before the call begins. A replay of the call will be available for fifteen days, beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on October 25, 2012 on the website noted above, or by dialing 877-344-7529, and referencing conference number 10019347. For more information, visit meritagehomes.com.Meritage Homes Corporation and SubsidiariesOperating Results(Unaudited)(In thousands, except per share data)            Three Months Ended September 30,Nine Months Ended September 30,  2012201120122011Operating results         Home closing revenue  $334,880  $217,534  $820,242  $615,154 Land closing revenue 7,763 — 8,846 100 Total closing revenue 342,643 217,534 829,088 615,254 Home closing gross profit 62,154 38,070 149,213 108,037 Land closing gross profit/(loss) 270 (127) 13 (118) Total closing gross profit 62,424 37,943 149,226 107,919 Commissions and other sales costs (25,855) (19,708) (67,950) (53,876) General and administrative expenses (19,209) (16,466) (50,446) (46,582) Interest expense (5,009) (7,517) (18,718) (23,036) Loss on extinguishment of debt — — (5,772) — Other (expense)/income, net (1) (5,365) 2,673 (1,086) 6,803 Income/(loss) before income taxes 6,986 (3,075) 5,254 (8,772) (Provision for)/benefit from income taxes (202) (160) 4,781 (560) Net income/(loss)  $ 6,784 $ (3,235)  $ 10,035 $ (9,332)Income/(loss) per share         Basic:         Income/(loss) per share  $ 0.19 $ (0.10)  $ 0.30 $ (0.29) Weighted average shares outstanding 35,216 32,417 33,541 32,358 Diluted:         Income/(loss) per share  $ 0.19 $ (0.10)  $ 0.30 $ (0.29) Weighted average shares outstanding 35,761 32,417 34,010 32,358Non-GAAP Reconciliations:         Home closing gross profit  $ 62,154  $ 38,070  $149,213  $108,037 Add: Real estate-related impairments 417 920 904 2,174 Adjusted home closing gross profit  $ 62,571  $ 38,990  $150,117  $110,211 Income/(loss) before income taxes  $ 6,986 $ (3,075)  $ 5,254 $ (8,772) Add Real estate-related impairments:         Terminated lot options and land sales 263 225 1,015 227 Impaired Projects 154 822 558 2,074 Litigation reserve related to South Edge 8,720 — 8,720 — Loss on early extinguishment of debt — — 5,772 — Adjusted income/(loss) before income taxes  $ 16,123 $ (2,028)  $ 21,319 $ (6,471)           (1) 2012 other (expense)/income, net includes an $8.7 million charge to increase reserves related to ongoing and unresolved litigation associated with the joint venture project known as South Edge in the Las Vegas area, as explained in an 8-K on September 6, 2012.    Meritage Homes Corporation and SubsidiariesCondensed Consolidated Balance Sheets(In thousands)(unaudited)        September 30, 2012December 31, 2011Assets:     Cash and cash equivalents  $ 305,049  $ 173,612 Investments and securities 66,549 147,429 Restricted cash 15,254 12,146 Other receivables 16,681 14,932 Real estate (2) 1,004,825 815,425 Deposits on real estate under option or contract 12,983 15,208 Investments in unconsolidated entities 12,008 11,088 Other assets 47,853 31,538 Total assets  $ 1,481,202  $ 1,221,378Liabilities and Equity:     Accounts payable, accrued liabilities, home sale deposits and other liabilities  $ 162,460  $ 126,057 Senior notes 496,350 480,534 Convertible senior notes 126,500 — Senior subordinated notes 99,825 125,875 Total liabilities 885,135 732,466 Total stockholders' equity 596,067 488,912 Total liabilities and equity  $ 1,481,202  $ 1,221,378(2)Real estate – Allocated costs:     Homes under contract under construction  $ 205,616  $ 101,445 Unsold homes, completed and under construction 98,354 97,246 Model homes 55,853 49,892 Finished home sites and home sites under development 524,842 441,242 Land held for development 54,981 55,143 Land held for sale 24,619 29,908 Communities in mothball status 40,560 40,549 Total allocated costs  $ 1,004,825  $ 815,425    Supplemental Information and Non-GAAP Financial Disclosures (In thousands – unaudited):            Three Months Ended September 30,Nine Months Ended September 30,  2012201120122011 Depreciation and amortization  $ 2,299  $ 1,694  $ 5,913  $ 5,267          Summary of Capitalized Interest:         Capitalized interest, beginning of period  $ 17,836  $ 13,205  $ 14,810  $ 11,679 Interest incurred 11,654 10,848 33,819 32,545 Interest expensed (5,009) (7,517) (18,718) (23,036) Interest amortized to cost of home, land closings and impairments (4,296) (2,421) (9,726) (7,073) Capitalized interest, end of period  $ 20,185  $ 14,115  $ 20,185  $ 14,115                September 30, 2012December 31, 2011 Notes payable and other borrowings      $ 722,675  $ 606,409 Less: cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, and investments and securities     (386,852) (333,187) Net debt     335,823 273,222 Stockholders' equity     596,067 488,912 Total capital      $ 931,890  $ 762,134 Net debt-to-capital      36.0%  35.8%    Meritage Homes Corporation and SubsidiariesCondensed Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows(In thousands)(unaudited)            Three Months Ended September 30,Nine Months Ended September 30,  2012201120122011Operating results         Net income/(loss)  $ 6,784 $ (3,235)  $ 10,035 $ (9,332) Loss on early extinguishment of debt — — 5,772 — Real-estate related impairments 417 1,047 1,573 2,301 Deferred tax valuation benefit (4) — (7,709) — Equity in earnings from JVs and distributions of JV earnings—net 148 158 (508) 678 Increase in real estate and deposits, net (48,079) (24,153) (188,317) (63,846) Other operating activities 13,389 7,705 46,902 18,986Net cash used in operating activities (27,345) (18,478) (132,252) (51,213)Net cash provided by investing activities 38,431 7,981 70,744 102,533 Proceeds from issuance of new debt 126,500 — 426,500 — Debt issuance costs (4,166) — (9,500) — Repayments of senior notes — — (315,080) — Proceeds from issuance of common stock, net 87,125 — 87,125 — Proceeds from stock option exercises 2,678 33 3,900 1,831Net cash provided by financing activities 212,137 33 192,945 1,831Net increase/(decrease) in cash 223,223 (10,464) 131,437 53,151Beginning cash and cash equivalents 81,826 167,568 173,612 103,953Ending cash and cash equivalents (3)  $ 305,049  $ 157,104  $ 305,049  $ 157,104           (3) Ending cash and cash equivalents as of September 30, 2012 and September 30, 2011 excludes investments and securities and restricted cash totaling $82 million and $200 million, respectively.    Meritage Homes Corporation and SubsidiariesOperating Data(Dollars in thousands)(unaudited)            Three Months Ended September 30,  20122011  HomesValueHomesValueHomes Closed:         California 244  $ 88,748 83  $ 28,708 Nevada 22 4,113 19 4,222West Region 266 92,861 102 32,930 Arizona 243 59,519 137 33,314 Texas 434 104,041 440 102,121 Colorado 83 27,639 68 21,500Central Region                          760 191,199 645 156,935 North Carolina 40 14,459 — — Florida 131 36,361 93 27,669East Region 171 50,820 93 27,669 Total 1,197  $ 334,880 840  $ 217,534Homes Ordered:         California 248  $ 94,974 121  $ 41,146 Nevada 22 4,384 10 2,182West Region 270 99,358 131 43,328 Arizona 229 70,315 189 52,684 Texas 425 106,116 361 82,758 Colorado 88 28,925 80 26,715Central Region 742 205,356 630 162,157 North Carolina 36 12,709 — — Florida 156 49,329 145 39,750East Region 192 62,038 145 39,750 Total 1,204  $ 366,752 906  $ 245,235    Meritage Homes Corporation and SubsidiariesOperating Data(Dollars in thousands)(unaudited)                      Nine Months Ended September 30,  20122011  HomesValueHomesValueHomes Closed:         California 489  $ 172,575 228  $ 77,930 Nevada 39 7,402 49 10,360West Region 528 179,977 277 88,290 Arizona 593 153,190 418 100,230 Texas 1,190 277,436 1,269 302,536 Colorado 227 75,816 175 55,757Central Region 2,010 506,442 1,862 458,523 North Carolina 84 30,513 — — Florida 376 103,310 235 68,341East Region 460 133,823 235 68,341 Total 2,998  $ 820,242 2,374  $ 615,154Homes Ordered:                             California 714  $ 258,053 293  $ 98,859 Nevada 61 11,455 51 11,072West Region 775 269,508 344 109,931 Arizona 738 200,258 499 128,592 Texas 1,370 332,007 1,252 296,886 Colorado 266 88,012 221 71,345Central Region 2,374 620,277 1,972 496,823 North Carolina 109 38,841 — — Florida 443 132,284 340 95,107East Region 552 171,125 340 95,107 Total 3,701  $ 1,060,910 2,656  $ 701,861Order Backlog:         California 307  $ 113,126 110  $ 36,224 Nevada 27 5,129 14 3,081West Region 334 118,255 124 39,305 Arizona 303 92,300 206 60,342 Texas 576 148,065 446 105,957 Colorado 109 35,689 98 32,552Central Region 988 276,054 750 198,851 North Carolina 49 16,944 — — Florida 247 78,269 186 50,367East Region 296 95,213 186 50,367 Total 1,618  $ 489,522 1,060  $ 288,523    Meritage Homes Corporation and SubsidiariesOperating Data(unaudited)            Three Months Ended  September 30, 2012September 30, 2011   Beg. End Beg. EndActive Communities:                  California 20 19 18 22 Nevada 2 2 3 3West Region 22 21 21 25 Arizona 32 34 35 37 Texas 68 68 68 65 Colorado 8 8 8 9Central Region 108 110 111 111 North Carolina 5 7 — — Florida 16 15 13 13East Region 21 22 13 13 Total 151 153 145 149                      Nine Months Ended  September 30, 2012September 30, 2011   Beg. End Beg. EndActive Communities:         California 20 19 14 22 Nevada 2 2 4 3West Region 22 21 18 25 Arizona 37 34 32 37 Texas 67 68 82 65 Colorado 10 8 9 9Central Region 114 110 123 111 North Carolina 3 7 — — Florida 18 15 10 13East Region 21 22 10 13 Total 157 153 151 149About Meritage Homes Corporation Meritage Homes is the ninth-largest public homebuilder in the United States based on homes closed in 2011. Meritage builds a variety of homes across the Southern and Western states to appeal to a wide range of buyers, including first-time, move-up, luxury and active adults. As of September 30, 2012, the company had 153 actively selling communities in 15 metropolitan areas, including Northern California, East Bay/Central Valley and Southern California, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson, Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando, Tampa and Raleigh-Durham. In 2012, Meritage also announced its entry into the Charlotte market. Meritage is an industry leader in innovation and energy efficiency. Meritage was the first national homebuilder to be 100 percent ENERGY STAR® qualified in every home it builds, and far exceeds ENERGY STAR standards in most of its communities. Meritage has designed and built more than 75,000 homes in its 27-year history, and has a reputation for its distinctive style, quality construction, and positive customer experience. For more information, visit meritagehomes.com. The Meritage Homes Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2624 This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include those regarding the Company's expectations for a continued rebound in the homebuilding industry, its projected closings in 2012 and 2013, and its ability to use additional capital to grow, all of which are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. The Company makes no commitment, and disclaims any duty, to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events or changes in these expectations. Meritage's business is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. As a result of those risks and uncertainties, the Company's stock and note prices may fluctuate dramatically. The risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to the following: weakness in the homebuilding market resulting from an unexpected setback in the current economic recovery; interest rates and changes in the availability and pricing of residential mortgages; adverse changes in tax laws that benefit our homebuyers; the ability of our potential buyers to sell their existing homes; cancellation rates and home prices in our markets; inflation in the cost of materials used to construct homes; the adverse effect of slower order absorption rates; potential write-downs or write-offs of assets, including pre-acquisition costs and deposits; the availability of finished lots and undeveloped land; our potential exposure to natural disasters; the liquidity of our joint ventures and the ability of our joint venture partners to meet their obligations to us and the joint venture; competition; the success of our strategies in the current homebuilding market and economic environment; the adverse impacts of cancellations resulting from small deposits relating to our sales contracts; construction defect and home warranty claims; our success in prevailing on contested tax positions; the impact of deferred tax valuation allowances and our ability to preserve our operating loss carryforwards; our ability to obtain performance bonds in connection with our development work; the loss of key personnel; our failure to comply with laws and regulations; the availability and cost of materials and labor; our lack of geographic diversification; fluctuations in quarterly operating results; the Company's financial leverage and level of indebtedness; our ability to take certain actions because of restrictions contained in the indentures for the Company's senior and senior subordinated notes and our ability to raise additional capital when and if needed; our credit ratings; successful integration of future acquisitions; government regulations and legislative or other initiatives that seek to restrain growth or new housing construction or similar measures; acts of war; the replication of our "Green" technologies by our competitors; our exposure to information technology failures and security breaches; and other factors identified in documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those set forth in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and most recent 10-Q under the caption "Risk Factors," which can be found on our website.CONTACT: Brent Anderson, VP Investor Relations (972) 580-6360 (office) Brent.Anderson@meritagehomes.com