Starwood 1Q results top Wall Street's expectations

Starwood 1st-quarter performance beats analysts' estimates; 2013 outlook above Street's view

Associated Press

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Lodging operator Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. 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.

Starwood, whose brands include St. Regis, Sheraton and Westin, anticipates 2013 earnings of about $2.75 to $2.83 per share, including the St. Regis Bal Harbour residential project that will be completed soon.

Analysts predict earnings of $2.67 per share.

For the second quarter, the company foresees earnings of approximately 70 cents to 73 cents per share. Wall Street expects 72 cents per share.

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