Marriott Q3 Tops Estimates, Q4 EPS Forecast Falls Short

Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR) reported fiscal third quarter 2012 diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.44 on revenue of $2.73 billion. In the same period a year ago, the hotel operator reported adjusted diluted EPS of $0.42 on revenue of $2.87 billion. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.40 and $2.65 billion in revenue.

Marriott's chairman/CEO said:

Pricing power continued to improve in the quarter as hotel occupancy levels approached prior peaks. Group revenue at comparable Marriott Hotels and Resorts in North America rose 8 percent in the third quarter with room rates up 3 percent. Transient REVPAR rose 6 percent with strong last-minute retail demand and reduced discounting.

Looking ahead, we expect 2013 worldwide constant dollar REVPAR [revenue per available room] to increase at a mid single-digit rate despite moderate economic growth in many markets around the world. We are particularly bullish about our prospects in North America and expect North American systemwide REVPAR to increase 5 to 7 percent in 2013. In that market, negotiations for special corporate business are already underway and we are targeting room rates to increase at a high single-digit rate. Group revenue on the books for 2013 for the Marriott brand in North America is up over 7 percent with rates up nearly 4 percent.

For the company's fourth quarter, Marriott forecasts revenue per available room will rise 5% to 7% in North America and 4% to 6% worldwide. Fourth quarter EPS is forecast at $0.52 to $0.56. The consensus estimate calls for EPS of $0.57.

For the full 2012 fiscal year, Marriott forecasts EPS of $1.68 to $1.72, compared with the consensus estimate of $1.69.

In after-hours trading today, shares are up about 2.2% at $39.85 in a 52-week range of $25.56 to $41.84.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, Services Tagged: MAR