Marriott's Third-Quarter Profit Slips 7 Percent

Marriott International reported a 7 percent decline in third-quarter earnings driven by falling profit in the Bethesda hotel operator's timeshare dvision and higher tax rates. See the company's statement.

The company said it earned $131 million (33 cents a share) for the three months ended Sept. 7, down from $141 million (33 cents) a year ago. The per-share results were unchanged in the latest quarter because Marriott has bought back 30.8 million shares, reducing the number of shares outstanding.

Revenue rose 12 percent, to $3.04 billion from $2.70 billion.

Those results surpassed the profit and revenue forecasts of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. Analysts had expected the company to earn 30 cents a share, on total revenue of $2.86 billion.

Profit in Marriott's timeshare business fell by $31 million, affected in part by a one-time gain in the year-ago quarter and loewr development profits.

The company said its global systemwide revenue per occupied room -- a key measure of hotel profitability -- rose 7.7 percent in the period, driven by gains overseas.

"Leveraging technology and system size, we continued to drive higher property-level profits," said J.W. Marriott Jr., chairman and chief executive.

Marriott International operates more than 2,900 lodging properties in the United States and 67 other countries. Its brands include Marriott, the Ritz-Carlton and Courtyard. In the latest quarter, the company added 7,700 new rooms, including 2,200 outside the United States, with plans to add as many as 115,000 rooms down the road.

"Our growing pipeline of new hotels implies strong unit growth, and ongoing brand initiatives should enable us to increase our already substantial lead over the competition," Marriott said.

By Mike Shepard  |  October 4, 2007; 1:46 PM ET  | Category:  Hospitality , Marriott International Corp.
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