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Executives

Victoria Legg – Director, Corporate Communications

Edwin S. Hetherington – Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Paul White – President and Chief Executive Officer

Martin O’Grady – Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Joseph Greff – JPMorgan

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank

Joshua Attie – Citigroup

David Katz – Jefferies & Co.

Christopher Agnew – MKM Partners LLC

Amanda Bryant – Susquehanna Financial Group

Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. (OEH) Q1 2011 Earnings Call May 4, 2011 10:00 AM ET

Operator

This is the Q1 2011 Results Conference Call for Orient-Express Hotels. Today’s conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Victoria Legg, Director, Corporate Communications. Please go ahead.

Victoria Legg

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. This is the first quarter earnings conference call for Orient-Express Hotels. We issued our earnings release last night and it is available on our website at orient-express.com as well as on the SEC website.

For anyone who has not yet seen it, the company’s first quarter earnings summary is as follows; first quarter total revenue excluding real estate up 17% to $99.6 million; revenue from owned hotels up 13% to $88.9 million; same-store RevPAR up by 6% in local currency, up 8% in U.S. dollars; adjusted EBITDA before real estate up $1.1million, to $1.9 million.

On the call today are James Hurlock, Chairman of Orient-Express Hotels; Paul White, President and Chief Executive Officer; Martin O’Grady, Chief Financial Officer; and Ned Hetherington, Company Secretary, to whom I now hand over for the usual housekeeping announcements.

Edwin S. Hetherington

Good morning everyone. Before we get started, I’d to like to read out our cautionary statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In the course of remarks to you today by Orient-Express Hotels management and in answering your questions, they may make forward-looking statements concerning Orient-Express Hotels such as its earnings outlook, future investment plans, and other matters that are not historic facts. We caution that actual results of Orient-Express Hotels may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Information about factors that could cause actual results to differ is set out in today’s news release, the company’s latest annual report to shareholders and the filings of the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That’s all have, I’ll now turn the call over to Paul White, our CEO.

Paul M. White

Thank you, Ned. Good morning everybody. I think our first quarter results are well described in the press release, a quarter which is low season in most of our hotels. 17% revenue growth today I think is a good achievement. The global economy is the same for all of us, with that said, this number is very much with the high-end luxury goods companies around the world.

Let me address the difficult things first. I think our conversion in certain parts of world could have been better in the first quarter. To see revenues up by $14 million and adjusted EBITDA by only $1.1 million did not meet my expectation. Of course there are reasons: foreign exchange, facing of SG&A costs, energy costs, but the numbers are the numbers.

The target for our company this year is 50% conversion. What do I mean by 50% conversion? What I mean is for every dollar of incremental revenue we expect $0.50 of EBITDA.

2011 has the prospect of being a good year for revenue growth in the luxury space, conversion, however, is the key. The Orient-Express management team understand this, and I fully expect the team to deliver in the second and third quarters.

So, some of key points on the quarter. The key difference to one year ago is the recovery of the U.S. outbound traveler to Europe and the first sings now that we can start to drive rate. The past five quarters have seen consistent revenue growth, but this growth has been volume related. The bookings data that I will share with you today will indicate that these volumes are starting to reach peak levels in the high seasons. What this means is we can now really drive rate.

Across the board, RevPAR in the first quarter has been slightly above our expectations with non-rooms revenue contributing significantly to the 17% revenue growth. Brazil, Asia, Trains and Cruises, all recorded strong results. On flip side, South Africa was weaker than expected, the post World Cup effect and increased competitor room nights. Europe, which in Q1 is dominated by the Grand Hotel Europe in Russia grew nicely. In North America, we are finding it tough to move rate.

I have our April results, which are quite interesting. 30% revenue growth, 25% RevPAR growth in Europe, Italy is absolutely flying, I think it is the U.S. and the UK traveler, which is driving these numbers. Two-thirds of this is occupancy, one-third is rate. So as we move into the second quarter, the signs are good.

But before I talk about the outlook, let’s just consider the impact of some of the macro issues facing the industry. Firstly, the weakening dollar. A weaker dollar obviously will see EBITDA from Europe increase. Simple mathematics, but it will have a longer-term impact on spending patterns particularly in the shoulder seasons. This may hold back local currency rate growth in areas where rates are euro denominated and hotels rely on the U.S. traveler. Historically, minor currency changes which I would define as less than 10% have not had a serious impact.

Secondly, the impacts of the troubles in the Middle East North Africa region. Here we need to be more forward thinking, it is easy for me to say that we are not affected in the short-term which we are not. We don’t have exposure in the region and we did not have huge client base, but I’m more interested in the long-term impact on the region, which is one of the key drivers of tourism in our industry, a region where we should be looking to expand our offering as a luxury operator. The impact of oil, energy costs does have a cost impact, but historically this has not had a significant impact on our traveler.

Finally and probably most importantly, inflation. It is biting in certain areas of the world, but it is a fact when inflation rises, it is actually easier to raise rate. The expectation is there both in the corporate and the leisure segment.

So let’s look at the real bookings data. I will remind you that our occupancy in 2010 was 56% globally and outside of the high seasons we are still very much driving occupancy. Our peak occupancy in 2006 was 63%, a number which we will believe will be exceeded in this cycle.

Bookings for the next 11 months is 10% up versus the same time last year. This I think is to be expected. On a 11-month basis, Europe is 19% ahead with Italy up 23%, North America 5% ahead and rest of the world 6% ahead. The second and third quarters are showing healthy numbers.

In Europe the second quarter, which now is May and June, I’ve already given you the April numbers, so Q2 May and June is 23% ahead. The third quarter 17% ahead. The U.S. which is dominated by Charleston Place is 3% ahead in quarter 2, but is down 12% in Q3, but up 12% in Q4.

Indeed Charleston Place is a Groups hotel and inline with our competitors, it is really early starting to show strong growth from the fourth quarter onwards, with quarter one 2012 of over 50%, indeed Charleston has more bookings confirmed for the first quarter of 2012 in the third quarter of this year. Moving on to the rest of the world, quarter two is tracking 12% ahead with quarter three up 1%. Quarter three obviously is when we have the World Cup in Africa last year.

Trains and Cruises bookings remained very strong. On a revenue basis, these were 24% ahead for the year; about $60 million of confirmed business on the books versus $48 million one year ago. The second quarter is 32% ahead and the third quarter is 23% ahead.

Now as we move forward, we will expect these numbers to start to flatten off. We’re now becoming more aggressive with rates and rate is the key to driving the EBITDA conversion. As I said, we believe conversion will be in the 50% region in 2011.

So what are the other key initiatives in supporting volume growth? Let’s start with brand marketing. We are making good progress across all channels as we strive to increase the awareness of Orient-Express as the luxury travel company. We have engaged all of our staff, the important advocates in the events and activities around the group. In quarter one we launched a global program for preferred travel agencies, one of the most prestigious travel industry programs in the marketplace now. We call it the Bellini Club. There are 241 select travel companies across 13 countries all signed up, all with individual revenue targets.

For our existing and in-house guests, which is our biggest audience, new impactful materials to be introduced on property and our ongoing cross-sell communications are in a rollout phase with the first quarter of the group plugged in to both the future, central, or CRM database and new guest extranet, the lounge. Any of you the travel to our properties in the next few months will be getting your invitation post date to join our lounge. It is tailor-made piece of software that allows you to go in and communicate with us, communicate with other guests about your experience and learn more about what’s going on within the company.

Later this year, we will launch an exciting vital advertising campaign to reach new target audiences, all quite exciting as we strive to get that 50% occupancy number I mentioned earlier closer to 70% over the coming years.

So to summarize, revenues for the quarter up 17%, April up 30%, a good start of the year and the outlook looks strong. Conversion in quarter one, I have to say could have been better, but delivery in quarter two and quarter three is the key. The brand is strengthening. The customer base is broadening. Financial discipline remains the key to our success.

Our balance sheet now is in good shape. It’s strong. 2011 is all about driving EBITDA profit.

Martin O’Grady

Thank you Paul. Good morning everyone. At the end of the quarter, the company had $117 million of unrestricted cash plus an additional $22 million of funds available under the working capital and revolving credit facilities. Restricted cash was $14 million.

Total term debt at March 31, was $742 million and there were no outstanding working capital facilities. Our net debt at the end of the quarter was $610 million.

On a trailing 12 month basis, the ration of net debt to adjusted EBITDA for real estate was 7.1 times and our interest cover ratio was around 2.7 times. Our term debt maturity schedule taking accounts of $28 million of revolver to mature in 2012 is now as follow; 2011, $93 million; 2012, $152 million; 2013, $169 million; after 2015, $328 million.

At the end of March, the interest cost on 54% of our debt was fixed and the average cost of debt including margin was 4.5%.

And with the cash flows for the quarter, net cash outflow from operating activities was $2 million. It was $30 million of CapEx in the quarter including $2 million of CapEx at Hotel Jabulani, $2 million for our hotels. We made final deposit payments of $1.5 million to the New York public library, but after this development contract was assigned we recovered $25.5 million in April.Net debt repayments in the quarter were $10 million.

Depreciation for the quarter was $11 million, largely unchanged from last year and we're projecting depreciation to run at a rate of $11.5 million to $12 million over the next three quarters. Interest was $9.3 million compared to $6.8 million last year, the prior year quarter benefited from $2 million of capitalized interest, which did not recur.

Going forward we're projecting interest to run at a level of $9 million to 10 million. Then the net tax credit in the quarter $5 million compared to a net charge last year of $9.3 million. This shrink of $5 million was caused by a release of new provision this year of $2 million, which was in respect to previously uncertain tax position. Last year there was a 2 million charge that was essentially deferred tax asset write-down. Cash tax in the quarter was $3.5 million.

For 2011 we’re now projecting the tax charge, this is in the range $18 million to $21 million and we expect to spread this over the remaining three quarters as follows, $8 million to $9 million for Q2, $9 million to $10 million for Q3 and finally $6 million to $7 million for Q4. The cash tax we’re now projecting total payments in the range of $14 million to $16 million and for the remaining three quarters we expect them to be in the range of $3.5 million to $4 million a quarter.

On the financing front, we’re now very close to getting credit approval for a new loan on La Residence. The existing loan is €30 million and we now anticipate a new three-year loan for €18 million and that’s going to require net repayments of €12 million or approximately $18 million.

We were unable to secure an extension on our last La Samanna loan. We had hoped to repay $5 million and get a one-year extension for $12 million, but this has not been possible. We’re now in the market seeking a new lender on these assets and it remains a reasonable possibility that we can put some other securing on this asset later this year.

Finally, although the Brazil facility does not mature until the middle of next year, we have made substantial progress on the refinancing over the last few months with strong interest of a number of banks. We started work early on this facility because we want to have certainty of financing before we can start planning later this year for a $15 million refurbishment of the main building at the Copacabana Palace next year. Currently we’ve drawn only $88 million and the new loan should be around $115 million.

I’ll now hand it back to Paul.

Paul White

Yes, just on the Copacabana Palace, to give a bit more color on what Martin has just said, today its almost profitable property generating EBITDA of nearly $20 million. 2014, we have the World Cup and 2016 we’ve got the Olympic Games.

Importantly, there is a couple of new hotels, but there is not a lot of new competition coming on board. But the Copacabana Palace is a property that since we’ve owned it we’ve upgraded considerably, but we still have about 70 rooms that are relatively untouched since we bought the property.

And what we’re going to be doing in 2012 is upgrading this remaining 78 rooms also doing a light refurb on the, those of you that know the property, the fifth and six floor which are all presidential floor and executive floor in the main building.

And we believe this would generate a return in about four to five years. So, we’re expecting incremental EBITDA between $4 million to $5 million. It’s an exciting project and at the same time we’ll be enhancing some of the public areas, the entrance, the lobby and doing a soft upgrade of the Cipriani Restaurant, which unbelievably is now been opened for nearly 15 years.

So with that, I’ll hand back to Vicky and questions.

Victoria Legg

Thanks, Paul. I’ll now hand back to the operator, so we can take your questions. In the interest of time, please limit yourself to three questions each. Thanks, operator.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) We will now take over the first question from Joseph Greff from JPMorgan. Please go ahead.

Joseph Greff – JPMorgan

Hi, everybody.

Paul White

Hi, Joe.

Joseph Greff – JPMorgan

Paul, it doesn’t sound like your conversion or flow through assumptions for 2011 have changed relative to the three months ago. Has your revenue or RevPAR expectation changed here to the upside or downside? And then that was great information on April results particularly in Europe. When you look at the pace for the balance of the 2Q and 3Q in Europe and Italy, how much of that do you think is rate related? Is it still one-third of that revenues rate growth related or how do you see that evolve over the next six months? Thanks.

Paul White

Just to add a bit more color on Joe’s question, I think when we last talked about a month ago, I was saying that probably quarter two and quarter four were going to be entirely occupancy driven. There is certainly a little bit of rate growth in those quarters and I feel that quarter three will be 50-50 rate-occupancy which is still my overall assumption. But clearly in Europe there is more opportunity on the right side.

The conversion assumptions have not changed and whilst they were a little bit behind where I wanted them to be in quarter one. I’m pretty confidant that seeing the managers out there, the regional managing directors will pull that back in Q2.

It’s the first time in nearly four years as CEO I have experienced us not hitting those targets and I think you get the occasional blip here, but this is quarter one. It’s a slow season quarter and I think the guys will work very hard in pulling that back. 50% of the target I think is the right target and I think we’ll by the time we get to the end of the third quarter particularly we’ll be back on line in there.

Joseph Greff – JPMorgan

Thank you.

Operator

We will now take our next question from Chris Woronka from Deutsche Bank. Please go ahead.

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank

Hey, good morning guys.

Paul White

Hi Chris.

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank

And again thanks for the data points on April. Can you maybe remind us what the year ago comp was on those numbers for April ’10?

Paul White

Do you mean what was April ‘10 over April ‘9?

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank

Yeah, right.

Paul White

No, I cannot. And I do not have anything at hand. Well, I have you give those afterwards Chris.

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank

Okay, great. And then I want to kind of bridge where you are now and your leverage target to where you want to be and how much of the inflows do you think from real estate sales can bring down that leverage versus how much of it is going to come from EBITDA growth?

Paul White

As I said on the last call, which was only eight weeks ago, the real estate, we are selling some real estate, we sold a few more. It’s all cash that comes in, obviously the New York deal was up $25.5 million, but really what we are focused on primarily this year is using EBITDA growth to bring those targets, bring that debt-to-EBITDA down.

Now, we have not lost sight of the fact that there are still a couple of properties out there that we consider non-core, that we are still trying to drive through which will also push that number. But the biggest influence now is going to be as we get that EBITDA number up from sort of 90 to 100, 100 to 110 and beyond.

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank

Okay. That’s great. And just kind of follow-up on the last question, I think you said two-thirds of the RevPAR growth in April was occupancy, one-third is rate. I guess structurally that makes it a little bit tougher to driver margins. I mean is there anything you are doing to address that or do you think the rate growth is just coming later in the year or next year?

Paul White

The rate growth is obviously, it comes when you get the occupancy to a certain level. Now, if I look specifically at Europe, then it is more balanced almost 50-50 and I think what we are going to see as we go into quarter 3, I was down in Italy a couple of weeks ago with Maurizio Saccani and looking at the Italian properties which are in a high season really do drive our earnings and the Cipriani in Venice and Caruso in Ravello, I think, in Q3 could be almost entirely rate driven. The Splendido probably 50-50. The Villa San Michele however has bit more room to go on occupancy because Florence generally as a market did drop quite considerably during the recessionary period. So I tend to sort of be a little bit cautious on predictions on rate, but certainly in Italy and in the high-season months in Spain, I think we will probably do a little bit better than we were expecting three months ago.

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank

Okay. That’s great. Very good, thanks.

Paul M. White

Thanks Chris.

Operator

We will now take our next question from Josh Attie from Citigroup. Please go ahead.

Joshua Attie – Citigroup

Hey, thanks.

Paul M. White

Hi, Josh.

Joshua Attie – Citigroup

Can you just remind us the booking data that you gave, is that volume only or is that volume and price?

Paul M. White

It’s volume only. For the Trains and Cruises, it’s a combination of this revenue.

Joshua Attie – Citigroup

Okay. Can you give us an update on the Santa Barbara project and if that hotel is still closed and you plan to do a project, what the cost could be and if you would do it on your own or in a JV?

Paul M. White

Okay. Where we sit on Santa Barbara at the moment is, it is shut down, we’re spending a little bit of CapEx money just keeping the property in good order and processing or working through the process of permit, which actually a couple of days ago we got the final permits to move forward with the project.

Martin can answer this, we do have a tentative offer of finance, which is a good offer of finance, which would enable us particularly in light of now the exit of New York to consider moving ahead with the project. If we were to move ahead with the project, it would only be complete towards the end of 2012. As a company at the moment and at Board level we are evaluating where we go, but the key it would be getting an offer of finance. Do you want to add anything, Martin?

Martin O’Grady

It’s with a bank that we’ve been working with or working on for a few years to get a relationship going. It’s one of the major international banks, it’s a five year loan, an initial three year loan and two one year extensions and it would be for about $40 million. And that’s got the green light from the people, the team, the top team in the U.S. and now they’re just doing a little due diligence and we are negotiating the term sheets and it should another month before we get a binding offer from them.

Paul M. White

And we would need to put in another $25 million to complete the project either 65 less to complete of which 40 would come from the bank and 25 would come from our pocket, which ties in quite neatly with what we’ve just got from New York.

Joshua Attie – Citigroup

And so you’ll do it on your own and not in a JV?

Paul White

Look, we’re always open to discussions on this, but I think that in the best interest of the company if we were looking for a JV partner would be to complete the project first and then bring up a partner in because that’s how we are going to get maximum value out of it.

Joshua Attie – Citigroup

Thanks. And just last question, is there any update on third party management business? I know that you recently hired someone and this is part of the business that you are looking to grow year-to-date is there any change or progress made in that area?

Paul White

We are working the whole strategic side at the moment, but we’ll come out publicly with some comments probably in the third quarter once we have a little bit more meat on the bone of some of the stuff that we are working on. But you are right, we hired Roy Paul just recently and he is very active out in the market looking for these deals.

Joshua Attie – Citigroup

Okay. Thank you very much.

Paul White

Thanks, Josh.

Operator

We’ll now take our next question from David Katz from Jefferies & Co. Please ago ahead.

David Katz – Jefferies & Co.

Hi, good morning.

Paul White

Hi David

David Katz – Jefferies & Co.

This maybe kind of an odd question given that the strategy is really to secure management deals and build distribution, but is there any likelihood or probability that you would come across any hotels that are too good to pass up that you would buy? Any acquisitions that you are seeing or looking at out there?

Paul White

There is nothing at the moment. Of course if properties came across, stellar properties that we’d always consider to be target properties, we would try to find a way of doing it if the deal was right. But I think the likelihood at the moment particularly bearing in mind what we’ve gone in the last couple of years is that if a great property in let’s say Rome came up we would go and look for an investor to either come alongside us or to purchase the property with us being the manager.

I think certainly this year we’ve got to continue and deliver on what we said we would do on the debt-to-EBITDA, on getting the balance sheet right and indeed focusing on driving the earnings out of what we have already rather than going out and buying new assets.

David Katz – Jefferies & Co.

Right, okay. Never say never, but it sounds likely.

Paul White

Never to say never, exactly, yeah.

David Katz – Jefferies & Co.

Okay. Thank you very much.

Operator

We will now take our next question (inaudible). Please go ahead.

Unidentified Analyst

Hi, Paul, hi everyone. Just a quick question with regards to the hotels in Sicily actually, do you have any update on that? I think you mentioned Italy in general, but just I don’t think you were giving how Sicily is doing?

Paul White

Obviously we weren’t open this time last year, so I can give you comps to our own sort of budget. But it was actually bang on budget in April and the Sant’Andrea was 17% ahead. And I think our overall budget for 2011 calls for about $6 million of EBITDA coming out of those properties. So that’s producing well.

I mean I was talking to the management team last night down there and I do think with the Sant’Andrea which is still, it’s the lower of the two properties and it’s very much tour-operator driven business, we may be benefiting a little bit from North African displays business there, because that certainly I thought already it was a very aggressive target that the guys have set themselves, but I have to say that is 17% ahead. So Sicily is doing well.

Unidentified Analyst

What’s your RevPAR on each of them?

Paul White

What is the RevPAR, do you have that Martin?

Martin O’Grady

Between 450 and 500 in Q2 for it, and nearly 354 for the Sant’Andrea.

Paul White

So those are more than double than we bought them.

Unidentified Analyst

Very good.

Paul White

Thank you.

Operator

We’ll now take our next question from Chris Agnew from MKM Partners. Please go ahead.

Christopher Agnew – MKM Partners LLC

Thank you. Good morning.

Paul White

Hi, Chris.

Christopher Agnew – MKM Partners LLC

I was so interested to hear about the UK and U.S. traveler driving the strength in Italy, especially given the decline in UK consumer confidence and we’ve been hearing about weakening booking trends elsewhere. I realize that obviously this is a luxury effect, but I was wondering if you can give a little more color there?

Paul White

It’s hard because it’s very early, we did see I think you have been told last year La Residence in New York, a big pick up out of the UK at the end of the season. I think you hit on a couple of things that are right, it is a luxury issue. I live in the UK, I see what’s going on. Of course, we’ve had an awful lot of holidays in April in England this year because of Easter and weddings and so on and so forth.

I think at the very high end there’s been a lot of people holding back for a couple of years and somehow it sort of threw the shackles off this year. The Cipriani showed 70% increase out of the UK and 38% increase out of the U.S., but I must rather answer that question with more substance behind it towards the end of this season when we see what happens as we go through June, July and August. But it is out of line with what’s generally happening in the UK, you’re right.

Christopher Agnew – MKM Partners LLC

Just a clarification, I’m sorry if you mentioned this, I just dropped off during Martin’s comments. What should we think about in terms of rooms available in Europe and in 2Q, 3Q or already through the rest of the year?

Paul White

Well, second and third quarter, the whole portfolio was open in Europe. So I don’t know what the exact rooms available number.

Martin O’Grady

In the first quarter, it’s around 233,000. Second quarter would be up to about 271,000 in Europe (inaudible)

Paul White

Yes, so 86,000 a quarter.

Christopher Agnew – MKM Partners LLC

Great. And then the fourth quarter, some couple of hotels close down, is that a (inaudible)

Paul White

We closes probably ends at the end of November.

Christopher Agnew – MKM Partners LLC

Got you. Okay, thanks very much.

Paul White

Okay, thanks Chris.

Operator

(Operator Instructions) We’ll now take our next question from Amanda Bryant from Susquehanna. Please go ahead.

Amanda Bryant – Susquehanna Financial Group

Great. Thanks and good morning.

Paul White

Good morning Amanda.

Amanda Bryant – Susquehanna Financial Group

A couple of things. Can you tell us what North American RevPAR growth in 2010, if you have excluded Maroma in the quarter? That will be first question. And then just as a quick follow-up on your comments on conversion, obviously you’ve had very good same-store RevPAR growth in the Asia Pacific region, but can you give us a little bit more color in terms of what was holding back conversion in that market specifically? Thanks.

Paul White

What was not, and you went through all of properties still, what was the key in Asia, I mean we have some restructuring cost, didn’t we?

Martin O’Grady

Yes, we’ve had restructuring costs, we change senior management team there and (inaudible) headwinds including higher energy costs and particularly we had higher employer taxes and fuel costs and energy costs I mentioned already, those were the main things. I haven’t got the RevPAR comparisons excluding this, but I can tell you that Maroma in the first quarter was down. Maroma was down by 20%. And so probably another 4% or 5% on the overall RevPAR if you take Maroma out.

Amanda Bryant – Susquehanna Financial Group

Okay, good, got you. Thank you. That’s helpful.

Paul White

Thanks.

Operator

For your information, we have no further questions in the queue.

Paul White

Okay, thanks very much everybody and look forward to seeing some of you next time, I’m in the States in the middle of May, otherwise on the next call in August. Thanks very much.

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