Saturday, July 26, 2014         

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Tax credit helps boost Starwood Hotels' earnings 66 percent

By Associated Press


STAMFORD, Conn. » Lodging operator Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. — which runs the Sheraton Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian, Moana Surfrider and Sheraton Princess Kaiu­lani — said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income surged 66 percent, bolstered by a large tax benefit.

The company also provided a 2013 earnings forecast above Wall Street's expectations and said that a limited supply of hotels is driving increased room rates in North America.

Its shares rose $2.06, or 3.3 percent, to close at $64.52 Tuesday.

For the three months ended March 31, Starwood earned $213 million, or $1.09 per share. That compares with $128 million, or 65 cents per share, a year earlier. The current quarter included a $70 million tax benefit.

Taking out the tax benefit and other items, earnings from continuing operations were 76 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Fact­Set expected 53 cents per share.

Revenue fell 11 percent to $1.54 billion from $1.72 billion as residential revenue declined. The performance still managed to beat Wall Street's forecast of $1.47 billion.

Worldwide systemwide revenue per available room for hotels open at least a year climbed 5 percent. In North America the figure rose 6.2 percent.

Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, is a key gauge of a lodging company's performance.

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