Hilton's (NYSE:HLT) most recent quarterly results continue to reinforce our view that the company's robust value proposition and asset-light, fee-based business model should allow the company to compound earnings per share at a mid-to-high teens' growth rate for years to come. This past quarter, Hilton grew units more than 7%, contributing to 8% franchised and management revenue growth, 11% EBITDA growth and 21% earnings per share growth (helped by a lower effective tax rate and fewer shares outstanding). Revenue per available room ("RevPAR") grew 1.4% this quarter, which outperformed the industry, as Hilton continues to gain share in a subdued market environment. Reflecting the asset-light nature of its business model, Hilton modestly increased its 2019 guidance for EBITDA and EPS growth despite lowering the high-end of its RevPAR growth (from +1-3% to +1-2%) due to modestly weakening conditions in the US and China.
We believe that the combination of Hilton's fee-based business model, large unit development pipeline, substantial share buyback program, and superb management team continue to be under-appreciated by the market as Hilton can achieve strong earnings per share growth even in a weaker environment for revenue per available room. While Hilton's shares have appreciated 33% this year, the shares currently trade at 23 times consensus analyst estimates for 2019 earnings, a discount to the historical average, and below our estimate of the company's intrinsic value based upon its high-quality, predictable cash-flow stream and strong future growth potential.
From Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)'s second-quarter 2019 Pershing Square shareholder letter.
This article first appeared on GuruFocus.
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