With timeshare specialist Bluegreen's
Earnings up by 41% to hit $1.23 a share? Sales up a heady 40%? At this point you may feel as though you've walked into a pleasant timeshare sales pitch. The presentation looks nice. The refreshments are delicious. What's the catch?
Well, like any good vacation interval push, there is the fine print to look out for. In this case it's that the company buried its actual December quarter results a few paragraphs deep into the press release.
It's easy to see why. While sales rose by 26% during the December quarter, earnings per share actually fell to $0.21 after a $0.25 showing a year earlier. Then you have an ominous warning about the future, which may seem a lot like a "did I tell you about the sinkhole and the ancient Indian burial ground we built this place on" aside that gets glossed over during a timeshare pitch.
See, Bluegreen isn't just about timeshares. It has also been actively selling real estate, too. With rock-bottom borrowing costs and housing prices soaring, this has obviously been a pretty good business, with the company's communities growing nearly four times as fast as its bread-and-butter vacation rental business. Just look into some of the country's leading homebuilders such as Lennar
Yet now Bluegreen is warning that its homesite sales are likely to be lower in 2005. While an improving economy should help the company move more timeshare units, it will be tough to make up for the slowdown in its fastest-growing real estate segment.
Then again, if Bluegreen is back to relying on its vacation ownership efforts to fuel the stock higher, it could do far worse. While timeshares still carry the negative connotation stink, major lodging players such as Disney
So let Bluegreen rain on down today. Now at just 13 times earnings and less than two times book value, it seems to be a more compelling value purchase than one of its timeshare resorts.
Here are a few recent related headlines:
- Some folks do dread timeshares.
- Timeshare specialist ILX Resorts
(AMEX:ILX)is up by 26% since being singled out as a 10 Stocks Under $10 pick last year.
- Maybe the Do Not Call list will keep the timeshare telemarketers away
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz once considered a timeshare purchase but decided on buying a condo in Orlando instead to turn a liability into an asset. He owns shares in Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.