Wyndham announces record room growth for 2023

Shareholders received $515 million in share repurchases and quarterly cash dividends

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Wyndham organic room growth
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts released fourth quarter and full year 2023 earnings that included record-high rooms growth, adjusted EBITDA of $659 million and 10 percent year-over-year growth in its development pipeline.

WYNDHAM HOTELS & RESORTS released fourth quarter and full year 2023 earnings that included record-high rooms growth. Geoff Ballotti, Wyndham’s president and CEO, said the strong results reinforce the company’s decision to refuse Choice Hotels International’s ongoing efforts to buy Wyndham out.

In its earning call, Wyndham reported that system-wide rooms grew organically by 3.5 percent year-over-year, a record high. The company opened a record 66,000 organic rooms, a 3 percent year-over-year increase. Its development pipeline grew 1 percent sequentially and by 10 percent year-over-year to 240,000 rooms, another record, including 98 new contract signings for its ECHO Suites brand, a 60 percent YoY growth in that part of the pipeline.

Wyndham’s shareholders, who will be key to determining the success or failure of Choice’s efforts to acquire the company, saw several benefits from last year’s performance. Fourth quarter diluted earnings per share was 60 cents with a net income of $50 million. The company returned $515 million to shareholders for the full-year through $397 million of share repurchases and quarterly cash dividends of $0.35 per share. Its board of directors also authorized a 9 percent increase in the quarterly cash dividend to $0.38 per share beginning with the dividend expected to be declared in first quarter of 2024.

“We are tremendously proud to report fourth quarter results that demonstrate the continued success of our global strategy and our accelerating momentum,” said Geoff Ballotti, president and chief executive officer.  “Despite the distraction, uncertainty and misperceptions caused by Choice and their slanted and constant communications to our franchisee base, room openings accelerated and our global development pipeline grew by 10 percent to an all-time high of 240,000 rooms.  Our team opened 27 percent more rooms than last year in the fourth quarter and we welcomed 500 new hotels to our system in 2023.  This, when combined with our improving franchisee engagement and record retention rate, drove the best organic system growth we’ve ever achieved. We grew comparable adjusted EBITDA by 6 percent and returned over half a billion dollars to our shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.  We are confident in the continued effectiveness of our growth strategy and see exceptional value-creation opportunities in the years ahead.”

Last month, Choice announced a list of nominees for Wyndham’s board to be voted on at this year’s shareholders meeting.  In its original proposal, made public in October, Choice said it sought to acquire all the outstanding shares of Wyndham at a price of $90 per share and shareholders would have received $49.50 in cash and 0.324 shares of Choice common stock for each Wyndham share they own. Choice claimed that is a 30 percent premium to Wyndham’s 30-day volume-weighted average closing price ending on Oct. 16, an 11 percent premium to Wyndham’s 52-week high, and a 30 percent premium to Wyndham’s latest closing price.

Wyndham’s board unanimously rejected Choice’s proposal, calling it unsolicited, “highly conditional” and not in the best interest of shareholders. On Nov. 14, however, Choice sent a letter to the Wyndham board with an “enhanced proposal” intended to address Wyndham’s concerns about clearing federal regulations. On Dec. 12, Choice launched  its public exchange offer to acquire Wyndham and on Dec. 19 the Wyndham board officially rejected the offer and urged shareholders not to tender shares for the deal.

Other results announced at Wyndham’s earnings call include:

  • The company’s global retention rate, including all terminations, improved another 30 basis points to a record 95.6 percent.
  • Its full-year 2023 diluted EPS of $3.41 and net income was $289 million. It had an adjusted diluted EPS of $4.01, adjusted net income of $341 million and adjusted EBITDA of $659 million.
  • Its net cash provided by operating activities of $376 million and free cash flow of $339 million for the full-year.