Wyndham Rides the Strength of Vacation Ownership

Wyndham Rides the Strength of Vacation Ownership

Hospitality and lodging is one of the high-growth industries for the next few years, and Wyndham Worldwide is going along for the ride. After a rocky but nonetheless upward ride throughout 2013, the company appears set for more growth on the income statement and in stock price. Wyndham can appeal to a few different types of investors -- value-seekers, growth-hungry, and income-loving. The company is attractively priced at roughly 14.5 times forward-earnings prospects, has the tailwinds of the hotel industry's bullish future, and recently upped its dividend by 21%. Don't let the stock's recent pullback scare you -- this is one sound play on hospitality.

A penny's worth
The market wasn't impressed with Wyndham's earnings, which included an adjusted bottom line of $0.73 per share -- 16% more than the prior year's number and about a penny under analyst expectations for the company's fiscal fourth quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was up 10%, as well.

Leading the way for the company is vacation ownership (timeshare) and plain old hotel-room bookings. Lodging grew sales by 10% to $245 million. In the U.S., RevPAR -- the go-to unit level metric for hotels; stands for "revenue per available room" -- gained an impressive 4.7%, while systemwide the figure grew 3.8%.

Vacation ownership saw sales grow 12% to $658 million. The figure really puts into perspective the fact that Wyndham is much more a timeshare business than it is a hotelier -- at least by the numbers.

How does it stack up?
If we treat Wyndham more as a vacation ownership business than a diversified hotel business, it's easier to compare to peers. A few basic points mark the timeshare business -- extremely high marketing expense with the potential for tremendous cash flows. Marriott Vacations Worldwide is the closest competitor, though it is a much smaller company by market cap. Marriott Vacations is a fast-growing business, spun off from its hospitality parent a little more than three years ago. With a huge development pipeline and healthy sales, the company is growing earnings and sales by the double digits -- exceeding the recent results from Wyndham.

Marriott trades at a richer 18.6 times forward earnings and has an EV/EBITDA of roughly 10 times. Wyndham appears cheaper at 14.5 times earnings but with a heavier balance sheet picks up a richer EV/EBITDA of just under 12 times. Neither company is overlevered considering the asset-heavy business model, but Marriott's operating level valuation is definitely more appealing.

Both companies will likely continue their upward trajectories based upon the industry tailwinds and strong, long-running brand names. Wyndham may be a slightly less risky play given its lodging segment. If timeshare demand takes a dive, Marriott Vacations has little to fall back on.

Investors looking for a comfortable, attractively priced play on the hot hotel and timeshare industry should take a close look at Wyndham.

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The article Wyndham Rides the Strength of Vacation Ownership originally appeared on Fool.com.

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