By Kristen Vake
Shares of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. plummeted 15 percent Thursday after the timeshare company reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings that it blamed on the strong U.S. dollar.
Net income in the quarter ended Sept. 11 was down almost 16 percent to $21.6 million, or 67 cents per diluted share, compared with earnings of $25.6 million, or 75 cents per diluted share, in the third quarter a year ago. Adjusted earnings were 82 cents a share, below the 87 cents expected by analysts.
“We have seen the weakening of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar. In fact, contract sales through these channels were down over $7 million in the quarter, primarily in our Latin America sales channels,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President John Geller Jr. in a conference call with analysts.
A stronger U.S. dollar makes American goods and services more expensive to overseas buyers. In addition, Latin American economies have been under pressure from falling commodity prices.
Revenue at the Orlando, Florida-based company fell 1.5 percent to $407 million in the third quarter from $413 million a year ago, coming in below the Zacks Investment Management estimate of $431 million.
Marriott Vacations raised its guidance for adjusted earnings per share to a range of $3.33 to $3.52 from $3.29 to $3.48 previously, but said contract sales would be flat to up 2 percent. The company previously was forecasting 5 percent to 8 percent contract sales growth.
President and CEO Stephen P. Weisz said the company is working to improve contract sales by ramping up marketing for its tours and adding new sales locations.
The company said it would be back in the market next week to resume share repurchases after the board this week approved up to 2 million additional shares. The company repurchased nearly $40 million of its shares in the quarter just ended.
Shares of Marriott Vacations closed Thursday down $11.24 at $62.93.