Bears check into Home Inns & Hotels
China's value-priced lodging chain is giving bears an earnings report to sleep on. Let's see if they wake up bullish.
Home Inns saw first-quarter revenue soar 95% to $50.9 million, with a small chunk of that growth attributable to the recent Top Star hotel chain acquisition. The company posted a loss of $0.20 per American depositary share, but that becomes a profit of $0.07 per ADS if you back out share-based compensation charges, foreign exchange losses, and acquisition-related items. Wall Street was looking for adjusted results to clock in at breakeven on $46.2 million in revenue.
Things are going well at Home Inns. Occupancy levels fell to 81.4% from 85.9% a year ago, but that was entirely the result of the dip at the more seasonal Top Star inns.
Home Inns added 33 new hotels during the quarter, with 25 of those being company-operated units. The company now watches over 299 hotels and it's getting bigger in a hurry. Home Inns expects to open 200 new hotels this year, up from the 160 to 180 it originally estimated.
Home Inns is a reasonable sympathy play for the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, though investors should know that Home Inns has a presence in 75 Chinese cities. They should approach the stock as a larger play on the growing economy's welcome impact on travel in general.
There are plenty of ways to play that angle. Travel booking specialists Ctrip.com
These are all stocks that may start inching higher in the coming weeks in anticipation of healthy Olympics-related traffic, yet their ultimate allure will be in how they perform once the medals have been passed out.
If companies like Home Inns are doing well now, with plans to get even bigger post-Olympics, it's not hard to imagine those hibernating bears awakening with bull horns in the morning.
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