Veteran Wells Fargo analyst Jeff Donnelly has downgraded his rating on shares of Ryman Hospitality Properties to 'underperform' from 'market perform.' Ryman shares (Ticker: RHP) are off more than 1 percent this morning to right around $53. They're flat year to date.
The directors of Ryman Hospitality Properties have voted to set up a share repurchase program for up to $100 million. The plan, which will expire at the end of 2016, will use available cash and borrowings under Ryman’s revolving credit line. The company is not required to buy a particular amount of stock.
Chairman and CEO Colin Reed said the buyback is “part of a capital allocation strategy that we believe is in the best interest of our shareholders and our business. We believe using capital to repurchase our shares at appropriate prices represents a favorable strategic use of capital.”
Shares of Ryman (Ticker: RHP) fell about 1 percent Thursday — before the buyback news — to $52.16. So far in 2015, they’re down slightly.
Ryman Hospitality Properties executives have extended the maturity date of their $700 million revolving credit facility by two years until June 2019. The move also cuts between 160 and 240 basis points off the interest rate and leaves Ryman with no debt coming due in the next four years. Check out the details here. Shares of the Nashville-based company (Ticker: RHP) are up slightly year to date.
Ryman Hospitality Properties Chairman and CEO Colin Reed hasn't been shy of late in trumpeting the great numbers put up by his company's Nashville entertainment properties, led by the Ryman Auditorium and Wildhorse Saloon. In the first quarter of this year, that division posted operating profits of $2.1 million on revenues of $16.7 million. Those numbers were up 284 percent and 17 percent, respectively, year over year.
Reed also has in recent quarters repeatedly hinted at grander plans for the division, which has been lifted big time by the overall Nashville tourism boom. But they've been teasings more than anything else and Reed delivered another one on his team's earnings conference call Wednesday morning. Asked how he would value the entertainment business relative to Ryman's core hospitality operation, Reed said he would politely say no to any bidders looking to put an arena business valuation on his entertainment crown jewel. Then came the latest tease.
"We think that this business provides and builds unique content and we're spending more of our time thinking about how we can actually build more content," Reed said.
The state budget passed last week included $8 million in incentives for a potential fourth season of local filming of the ABC show Nashville. A decision on whether the show will return should be made soon. Metro and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. are preparing their own slices of the incentives pie, but the details are still to be revealed. Nate Rau at The Tennessean has more info here.
In discussions with government officials, representatives from the show prepared a fact sheet touting its impact on the local economy. Local tourism leaders have tied the city's booming leisure travel at least in part to the popularity of "Nashville." However, no official economic impact study has been conducted.
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