Braemar Hotels Road to Recovery Confirmed With Dividend Increase and New Share Buyback

Braemar Hotels & Resorts (US:BHR) shares rose 11.9% Friday after the pandemic battered luxury holiday REIT said it would hike its quarterly dividend and launch a new share buyback program.

Earlier last week, Braemar delivered an occupancy update showing  October and November portfolio occupancy was approximately 73% and 64%, respectively. October’s daily rate averaged $382, and RevPAR was $280, a 255% jump from a year ago.

RevPAR grew 25% compared to October of 2021 and 14% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Braemar’s CEO Richard Stockton told investors, “RevPAR significantly exceeded its previous peak in 2019 for both months, solidifying a strong trend in consistently high ADRs and continuing occupancy growth. Looking forward, we expect occupancies to continue to rise toward pre-pandemic levels as the next leg of growth for our portfolio.”

BHR’s board raised its dividend to five cents from one cent. The 20 cents a share annualized dividend produced a  5.2% yield at Friday’s close.

Braemar also authorized a share buyback program for up to $25 million, instilling confidence in balance sheet liquidity.

Research from the Fintel quant platform identified that two insiders, Board members; Mary Candace Evans and Abteen Vaziri,  bought BHR stock in the last 90 days. Both transactions occurred in the trading window post Q3 results. Vaziri bought 10,000 shares at $3.88, and Evans bought 2,750 shares at around $3.63 each.

Fintel’s insider sentiment score of 75.15 is bullish on BHR’s insider activity, ranking the stock in the top 5% of 14,709 screened global securities.

Around the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020, Braemar’s stock nose dived by more than 85%. In the years that it recovered, about half of its pandemic declined.

The recovery toward pre-pandemic levels may drive further capital growth and dividend increases toward the historical dividend rates of around 16 cents per quarter.

The street remains bullish on BHR with a consensus ‘overweight’ rating and an average $10.46 price target. Two brokers have ‘strong buy’, three have ‘buy’ while two analysts are ‘hold.’

This article originally appeared on Fintel

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