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Hilton Preparing For Long-Term Revenue Hit With $3.8B In Cash On Hand

Hilton Worldwide Holdings' headquarters in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Tysons, Va., as of 2017

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the hospitality industry especially hard, and new earnings numbers from Hilton Worldwide shed light on the health of the global hospitality giant.

Hilton experienced a 22.6% decline in revenue per available room in Q1, compared to the same period last year, the company said in its quarterly earnings report released Thursday. Its quarterly net income was $18M, compared to $159M in Q1 2019. 

The company said occupancy didn't begin declining outside of the Asia Pacific region until March, meaning the quarterly earnings are not indicative of the longer-term impact the coronavirus will have on the company. But it detailed some of the steps it has taken to help weather the storm. 

The McLean, Virginia-based hotel giant has $3.8B in cash on hand. Hilton worked to shore up its balance sheet by borrowing the remaining money available from its $1.75B credit facility, pre-selling $1B in Hilton Honors points and issuing $1B in senior notes. 

"We have ... taken precautionary measures to protect our business, including securing our liquidity position," Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said in a release. "Given the strength of our system and dedication of our people, we believe we are well-positioned to navigate this crisis and ultimately recover stronger."

Following the earnings release Thursday, Hilton's share price increased by 2% as of 2 p.m. ET. R.W. Baird Senior Research Analyst Michael Bellisario, who covers Hilton, said in a report he thinks the company's balance sheet is "solid."

"We believe the near-term liquidity and RevPAR growth uncertainties have been addressed," Bellisario said in the report. "We calculate that Hilton has ample liquidity for at least the next 24 months if the current levels of very low occupancy were to persist ... we continue to have a favorable view of Hilton's balance sheet and geographic/segmentation positioning."