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Analyst Sees More News In Works At Intrawest Resorts

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Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated that Intrawest owned Whistler Blackomb. Whistler Blackcomb was actually spun out of Intrawest in 2010 and is now separate public company under the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SNOW)'s unexpected replacement of its chief executive recently could presage "significantly more news in coming months," an analyst said on Monday.

Bank of America analyst Shaun C. Kelley thinks the company could be preparing for some "financial engineering," although he didn't speculate on specific strategies.

The company is majority-owned by Fortress Group, which took Intrawest private in 2006. Since going public again about a year ago, shares have performed poorly, while its books currently include a net operating loss carry-forwards equal to $12 a share.

"Plus there is another $4 a share in raw land and $7 related to the core ski business," Kelley said.

The company owns a half-dozen major ski areas, including the heli-skiing concern Canadian Mountain Holidays.

Intrawest closed Monday at $10.82, up about 5 percent since last week when it named Thomas F. Marano chief executive effective immediately. William A. Jensen resigned as CEO, for "personal reasons."

Kelley noted that Marano lacks industry experience and had reportedly been better paid at his previous job heading Residential Capital, a unit of what is now Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY).

"So what attracted him to Intrawest?" Kelley asked rhetorically.

Marano will receive a base salary of $700,000, plus options on 2.7 million shares and a "personal, 25 percent of 'value created' in new business ventures," according to Kelley.

Calling Marano's arrival "totally unexpected," Kelley noted the lack of an interim search period and said he's rarely seen "such a unique carve out for side projects that could personally benefit the CEO."

Kelley maintained a Buy rating and $17 target.

Latest Ratings for SNOW

Aug 2016KeyBancDowngradesOverweightSector Weight
Feb 2016Credit SuisseAssumesOutperform
Feb 2016MacquarieDowngradesOutperformNeutral

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