VR stock just $3 from all-time high
AVON – Pushed by the recent sale of hotels in a red-hot hotel market, and solid ski season earnings, Vail Resorts’ stock price Monday eclipsed $29 for the third time in its history.At close of trading it was priced at $29.19 – up 71 cents, or 2 percent – on a trading volume of 134,000 shares. This year the stock price has increased more than 60 percent – since the first of the year a graph of the rise is as steep as Riva Ridge on Vail Mountain. The all-time high for the stock, which at initial public offering sold for $22, was $32 in February 1998. In March 19980 it hit $30 a share and the highest price it has reached until this spring has been $24 a share.In the post-Sept. 11 recession the company’s stock bottomed out at less than $12 a share. The company slimmed staff and cut more than $45 million in operating expenses.The company this year is experiencing booms in all three of its divisions – on mountain, real estate and hotels, and in its last earnings report stated $58.8 million profit on $327.5 million gross revenue.Since January the company has been busy buying and selling hotels. Last week the company announced it had hired a hotel sales consulting group to explore the sale of its Snake River Lodge and Spa in Jackson, Wyo. Earlier in the year it purchased complete ownership of that property. Last month it reported it had sold the Lodge at Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs. In June it sold the Marriott Mountain Resort in Lionshead for $62 million and had also sold its 49 percent stake in the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch.In June the company announced plans to build a new lift in Vail’s Lionshead just west of the Marriott, to service a new 195,000 square-foot, luxury condominium project that will be managed by Ritz-Carlton.Vail Resorts owns Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek and Heavenly ski resorts as well as nine luxury RockResorts hotels across the country as well as numerous slopeside hotels. The company’s stock is carrying a price/earnings ratio of 44.77, meaning it is being sold at a premium price. Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or email@example.com.Vail, Colo.