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Starwood Hotels 3Q profit falls more than 7 pct

Thursday - 10/24/2013, 9:50am  ET

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.'s third-quarter earnings fell more than 7 percent from year-ago results that included a one-time gain. Its latest results beat Wall Street expectations and it raised its full-year guidance.

Its shares rose 3 percent in premarket trading.

The company best known for hotel brands like Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis said Thursday it earned $157 million, or 81 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That's down from $170 million, or 87 cents per share, last year, when it booked a $23 million gain.

The company's earnings from continuing operations grew nearly 7 percent in this year's quarter, not counting that gain.

Excluding special items like a favorable adjustment to legal reserves, adjusted earnings came to 71 cents per share in the 2013 quarter.

Analysts expected 63 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose more than 3 percent to $1.51 billion. Analysts forecast revenue of $1.48 billion.

Worldwide, systemwide revenue per available room for hotels open at least a year increased 4.7 percent. For those in North America, the figure climbed 5.8 percent.

Revenue per available room, or REVPAR, is a key indicator of a lodging company's health.

"We remain bullish on the long-term trends of rising wealth and increasing demand for travel in fast growing economies, even in the face of slower growth in China, unrest in the Middle East, and economic challenges in Latin America," CEO Frits van Paasschen said in a statement.

The company said it now expects adjusted 2013 earnings of about $2.93 to $2.95 per share, which is up from a forecast it gave in July for earnings of $2.81 to $2.88 per share.

Analysts expect, on average, $2.85 per share.

Starwood, based in Stamford, Conn., has 1,169 properties in almost 100 countries.

Company shares rose $2.20, or 3.1 percent, to $72.65 in premarket trading about two hours before the market opening. Its shares have risen nearly 23 percent so far this year.


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