Brightline’s Ridership Ahead Of Analyst Forecast; $600M Bonds To Be Refinanced Next Month

Brightline (soon to be Virgin Trains) is planning to refinance some of its debt, and ridership is said to be stronger than forecast.

Yesterday, the company notified investors that it intended to exercise an option pay off bonds nearly 29 years early. They will be redeemed on April 18, 2019, subject to Brightline obtaining the necessary financing.

The $600 million in bonds were issued in late 2017, with a maturity date of 2047.

Ridership has been stronger than analysts had forecast, and could soon surpass even Brightline’s expectations.

According to an analysis released by credit ratings agency Fitch in December, ridership is already ahead of analyst projections, when taking into account station opening delays.

Brightline’s own ridership expectations were more optimistic than the Fitch expectations. Those too were on track to be surpassed by July 2019, Fitch wrote. As of December, ridership was just 5.3% below Brightline’s rosy forecast, when factoring in delays.

Profitability was expected even under the lower Fitch ridership forecast.

Cash had been depleted however, due to expenses relating to the station delays and work on an initial public offering (now cancelled). Bidding on a Tampa expansion and pre-work on the Orlando expansion has led the company reliant in cash injections from its parent company, Florida East Coast Industries.

Fitch is no longer rating the bonds, saying that a strategic focus that now includes real estate expansion meant that it no longer fit its rating criteria for Infrastructure and Project Finance.

Separately, Brighline released its monthly ridership and revenue report yesterday. For the month ended February 28, 2019, Brightline carried 78,707 passengers and generated $1.9 million in revenue. Compared to the prior month, ridership grew 7% and revenue grew 14%.

 

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Anonymous

Success even before Orlando connection.

William

All the politicians should be out there promoting this. Mass transit without public risk. Thank goodness that our then governor declined the obama money on that other train. We would have been in that California nightmare…

Anonymous

Collapsing bridges and platforms too short, enough said.

Anonymous

My bad, I was under the wrong assumption. I thought Rick Scott, being a republican, was in lock step with the rest of his cronies in the GOP, you know, the ones who (for one thing) snubbed their noses at Obama just because he’s a democrat? I bet those TSA workers were wishing they had a president looking out for them, that way they could’ve avoided going through the nightmare they went through this year.

William

Typical tactics to obscure reality. The federal train money is often burdened with to much bureaucracy, as can be seen by the california mess. Mass transit with limited risk of public money is a huge benefit to south florida and so far Brightline has delivered.

Anonymous

Brightline/Virgin is not meant to be nor is it Mass Transit for the tri-county area and Orlando.

Anonymous

Orlando -Tampa raíl will be as profitable.

Anonymous

Things can only get much better for MiamiCentral and Brightline/Virgin trains when Miami World Center is finished.

Anonymous

Agree.
They also need increase the density in FLL and WPB and bring more large companies to South Florida

Anonymous

Looking forward for it to connect to Orlando then Tampa

Anonymous

Was there ever any doubt that project would be successful?

Anonymous

Guess you haven’t been reading this site long.

Anonymous

I watch the trains run empty every day and I highly suspect their numbers. They probably pulled out of the IPO because they would have to report the honest numbers.

Anonymous

I’m always near the West Palm Beach station and I see throngs of people get on and off the trains. They must have bundled service with tourism agencies, because there are often many large buses of people unloading or loading in front of the station.

Anonymous

What funds is it using to pay off those bonds? Proceeds from a different debt sale ?

Oscar

The article mentions that they’re refinancing so yes. I believe that they are issuing another round of debt to fund the Orlando extension. With numbers better than earlier estimates and the Virgin acquisition, it looks like they’re going to be able to get a better interest rate which is why they’re refinancing.

Anonymous

They are paying Virgin for the use of the name and got very little investment from Virgin Brands.

Anonymous

Yes – they will end up having about 73% of capital as debt.

Anonymous

Open Central Fare!!!!

Anonymous

No brakes on this train!

Victor Poindexter

This is very misleading. Look at their original ridership forecasts. They are way behind and bleeding money. This project is not safe, either. 16 people killed (so far.) Most (if not all) high speed rail lines DO NOT HAVE GRADE CROSSINGS. The OPPAGA study pointed out so many problems with this project. It’s OK to be for mass transit and against this bad project.

Anonymous

Broke-ass train! What a disgrace! Out of money!

Prometheus

Ummm… did you read the article?

Anonymous

He doesn’t care, he’s just a troll… stop feeding him with reply’s (but feel free to downvote).

Anonymous

“Brightline generated $1.9 million in revenue [last month]. One of my small dry cleaners generated more than $2 million in revenue last month and that was only one location. Obviously Brightline is a big big loser. There is no path to profitability for this loser. The people pumping this are either morons, paid shills, real estate bitches, or a little of all three.

Anonymous

Do you realize how much money American Airlines lost in their first years of operation?

Anonymous

They are still losing money and plan to attract twice as many riders than Acela when they finally make it to MCO. Acela has twice the track miles and 4 times the stops. These people only want double freight capacity for a Mexican conglomerate.

Anonymous

16 people are dead and they will go 30 mph FASTER thru the Treasure Coast – Death Trains!

Anonymous

16 people dead in a region of over six million people?

Um, I guess odds are correct that some people can be just plain stupid.

Anonymous

Wrong!!! You meant idiots crossing rail tracks!

Anonymous

Wonder how many died on I-95 in the same period (<16)

Anonymous

I dont believe that most people who are getting killed by train is an accident. There are a lot of opioid rehab facilities near the tracks…those poor souls are checking out of this world on purpose.

Anonymous

No, it’s not a death train. Trains run on dedicated rail. It’s TRESPASSERS that are killed.

J. A. S.

People are dead because they are stupid and try to cross tracks when and where they shouldn’t

Anonymous

Troll!!! Just ignore but feel free to down vote.

Anonymous

Natural selection… get off the tracks!