The Grand Ole Opry owner’s bet on the country lifestyle is paying off, even though global fears of an uncontained coronavirus is hammering its stock.
Ryman Hospitality’s entertainment properties, including The Grand Ole Opry and legendary country radio station WSM, had revenue of $183.1 million in 2019, up 24.4% from $147.2 million in 2018. Adjusted operating income — with one-time expenses removed — grew 53.4% from $37.8 million to $58 million.
As stock markets around the world cratered for a second day, Tuesday’s (Feb. 25) earnings release mentioned the coronavirus that is spreading outside China and scaring investors: “A widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the United States could adversely affect our business results and guidance,” it reads. Even though Ryman’s earnings exceeded analysts surveyed by Zacks Equity Research, its share price dropped 5.7% on Tuesday on top of a 5.8% fall on Monday. Both declines were on par with other travel-related stocks such as American Airlines and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Ryman attributes 2019 growth to “the continued growth of its Ole Red brand, a partnership with country star Blake Shelton that has two restaurant/bar/venue spaces, in Nashville; Gatlinburg, Tenn., a tourist destination in the Smoky Mountains; and Tishomingo, Okla. An Ole Red will open in Orlando, Fla. in the second quarter.
The planned acquisition of Block 21, a mixed-use space in downtown Austin that includes the 2,750-seat ACL Theater where the long-running television show Austin City Limits if filmed, will close by the second quarter. Circle Media, a country lifestyle joint venture that Ryman created with Gray Television, will launch an over-the-top channel “in the middle of 2020.”
Last year, Ryman Hospitality, a real estate investment trust for tax purposes, generated $1.6 billion of revenue, mostly from its hotel and resort properties