I first got interested in Marcus
Marcus operates theatres totaling 504 screens, and owns and manages hotels and resorts. For the second quarter, total sales increased 5.3%, operating income increased 2%, and net income doubled. Most of the net income increase resulted from $8.5 million of gains from real estate divestitures, including $5 million from selling excess theater land.
Theater revenue, as expected, was soft, with box-office sales down 7% for the quarter and concession sales down 2.9%. Unfortunately, the company is unable to hedge "Harry Potter risk" -- 60% of year-over-year box-office declines can be attributed to the opening weekend of last year's Harry Potter movie. But bigger movies await in the summer of 2007, including the latest Harry Potter installment, Pixar's Ratatouille, and sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean, Ocean's 11, Bruce Almighty, Die Hard, The Bourne Identity, and Rush Hour, so box-office sales shouldn't have a hard time rebounding. Nevertheless, theater operating margins on a year-to-date basis held firm at 22.8%, compared to Regal's
Hotels and resorts fared much better for Marcus. Revenue per available room and average daily rate increased 7.8% and 10.3% during the quarter. Occupancy, due to some non-recurring events, decreased 1.6%. Most importantly, Marcus increased its ownership of the Platinum Hotel in Las Vegas from 50% to 90%. Although we don't know what Marcus paid, it's a relatively safe bet that the management didn't overpay.
Marcus has already sold 20% of Platinum's 255 condo units at prices ranging from $350,000 to more than $1 million per unit. Platinum is a "condo hotel," where condo owners hire Marcus to manage and rent out their units and split the resulting profits. Platinum, surprisingly, is only one of two condo hotels currently open in Vegas, and it differentiates itself as a nongaming, nonsmoking property. Additionally, Marcus signed two management contracts, one for a four-star resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., owned by Goldman Sachs.
All in all, although net income growth was largely due to one-time real estate gains, Marcus has a long history of making shrewd investments and booking gains, so I tend to view these gains as more recurring in nature. Furthermore, Marcus' management is extremely shareholder-friendly, which isn't surprising given that insiders own nearly half the company. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict that Marcus will wisely invest and grow shareholder capital, so investors might want to take a closer look at this one.
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Fool contributor Emil Lee is an analyst and a disciple of value investing. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. Emil appreciates comments, concerns, and complaints. IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .
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