Written on the 29 August 2014 by Nick Nichols

MANTRA Group (ASX: MTR) etched out a small loss on its bottom line in the 2014 financial year, but it was much better than forecast in its prospectus in June.

The $300,000 loss compares with an expected $2.2 million loss, and was the result of a $17.1 million increase in net finance costs.

Beyond this, Mantra Group has delivered a solid underlying profit result – it’s first as a listed company - with EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation) landing at $62.4 million, just above the $64 million forecast.
Group revenue rose 5.7 per cent to $457.7 million as the accommodation provider increased earnings in each of its business divisions.

Growth was buoyed by the addition of five new hotels in the second half of the financial year, including two in Brisbane, one each in Melbourne and Wollongong and its first Peppers resort in Bali.

The company has added another two hotels since listing in June, including the first Peppers capital city hotel in Canberra.

“This result reflects improved occupancy levels and average room rates as well as a focus by management on cost control and improved efficiencies in key areas of the business,” says Mantra CEO Bob East.

“The group is in a good financial position with total assets of $516 million, net assets of $257 million and a strong cash flow, and is well placed to deliver shareholder value in FY15.”

East says profits will be driven in the current year through new strategic partnerships, refurbishments of properties and improved service deliveries.

“As outlined in the prospectus, in FY15 the accommodation industry is forecast to grow in RevPAR (revenue per average room) in line with favourable supply-demand factors,” says East.

He says that based on the group’s earning capability and strong cash flows the company is well placed to take advantage of growth opportunities.

Mantra Group is Australia’s second-largest accommodation provider, through its flagship brands Mantra, Peppers and BreakFree.

The company has seen the strongest revenue growth in the corporate market, with an increase of 55.7 per cent to $4.27 million.

Although it is off a small base, it is well up on the prospectus forecast.

The company’s net asset position at the end of June 30 surged $210 million to $257 million from a year earlier.

This was due to a $190 million cut in liabilities following the retirement of debt due to the public float.

The company’s profit report also reveals that East was paid $1.357 million in FY14.

Author: Nick Nichols





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