As a dividend-driven investor who doesn't mind a moderately yielding REIT play every once in a while, I've decided to shift my focus to the Hotel/Motel REIT sector and highlight several of the reasons behind my decision to remain bullish on shares of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE:RHP).
Founded in 1955 and headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Ryman Hospitality Properties owns and operates hotels in the United States. Its Hospitality segment operates a network of meetings-focused resorts, and its Opry and Attractions segment owns and operates Nashville-based tourist attractions, including but not limited to the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. (Yahoo! Finance)
#1: Recent Performance & Trend Behavior
On Friday, shares of RHP, which currently possess a market cap of $2.13 billion, a forward P/E ratio of 31.50, and a dividend yield of 4.74% ($2.00), settled at a price of $42.15/share. Based on their closing price of $42.15/share, shares of RHP are trading 1.80% above their 20-day simple moving average, 4.92% above their 50-day simple moving average and 11.22% above their 200-day simple moving average. These numbers indicate a short-term, mid-term, and long-term uptrend for the stock, which generally signals a moderate buying mode for most long-term investors.
#2: Recent Dividend Establishment & Behavior
On November 8, 2012, and after announcing its plans to convert to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), Ryman Hospitality paid a special dividend of $6.84/share. The company subsequently went on to pay its investors a quarterly dividend of $0.50/share in each of the last four quarters.
According to the company's Q3 earnings press release, "It is the company's current plan to distribute total annual dividends of approximately $2.00 per share for 2013 in cash in equal quarterly payments in April, July, October, and January 2014, subject to our board of directors future determinations as to the amount of quarterly distributions and the timing thereof."
If the company can demonstrate strength in terms of its Adjusted FFO (which was up 163.9% compared to the previous year), its Net Income (which came in at $18 million versus a net loss of $26.7 million that was demonstrated during Q3 2012) and its RevPAR (which fell 2.7% versus the year-ago period) in the fourth quarter, I strongly believe investors could see an annualized dividend increase of $0.02/share-to-$0.04/share when the company announces its dividend plans for 2014.
#3: Looking Ahead to Q4 FFO
If we begin to look ahead to the company's Q4 FFO, in which analysts are calling for RHP to earn $0.43/share in terms of FFO (which is $0.16/share higher than the company had reported during Q3) and $272.13 million in terms of revenue (which is $50.93 million higher than the company had reported during Q3 2013), I suspect most investors would like to see Ryman continue to demonstrate increases in Adjusted FFO, Net Income and RevPAR.
How can Ryman Hospitality Properties surpass estimates?
If the company can demonstrate an increase of at least 2.75%-to-3.25% in terms of Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), an increase of at least $2.7 million in terms Adjusted EBITDA (RHP reported $57.3 million during Q3 2013), and at least a 7.50% increase in Total Revenue, I see no reason why the company's FFO and Revenue estimates can't be met or even slightly exceeded when Ryman announces its Q4 results sometime in February.
Risk Factors (Most Recent 10-K)
According to Ryman's most recent 10-K, there are a number of risk factors investors should consider before establishing a position. These risk factors include but are not limited to:
#1 - If the company fails to qualify as a REIT or fails to remain qualified as a REIT, it would be subject to tax at corporate income tax rates and would not be able to deduct distributions to stockholders when computing its taxable income.
#2 - The company may be required to borrow funds, sell assets, or issue equity to satisfy its REIT distribution requirements or maintain various asset ownership tests.
#3 - The company's cash distributions are not guaranteed and may fluctuate.
For those of you who may be considering a position in Ryman Hospitality Properties, I strongly recommend keeping a close eye on the company's earnings growth, its dividend behavior and any further growth it may demonstrate over the next 12-24 months as each of these factors could play a role in the company's long-term performance.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in RHP, over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.