Hilton forecast disappoints, Marriott profit beats

Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:30pm EST
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By Ankit Ajmera

(Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc (HLT.N: Quote), owner of the Waldorf Astoria hotel brand, forecast lower-than-expected earnings for the first quarter as a strong dollar makes it more expensive for foreigners to travel to the United States.

Hilton expects "recent sharp movements" of the dollar against the euro, Australian dollar and yen to hurt adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization by $35 million-$45 million, CFO Kevin Jacobs said.

Hilton and rival Marriott International Inc (MAR.O: Quote) reported a rise in fourth-quarter RevPAR, a key metric for the hotel industry.

Marriott's international systemwide RevPAR rose just 0.5 percent. On a constant currency basis, however, international RevPAR rose 4.6 percent.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc HOT.N, owner of the Sheraton and Westin brands, forecast a profit below market estimates last week, citing the strengthening of dollar that lowers revenue from outside the United States.

Marriott reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue and forecast worldwide systemwide constant dollar RevPAR to rise 5 to 7 percent in the first quarter.

"Based on signings to date, we expect special corporate room rates across all our managed North American hotels will increase 5 to 6 percent in 2015," Marriott Chief Executive Arne Sorenson said.

Marriott shares were up 3.5 percent in trading after the bell.   Continued...

Specialist Trader John O'Hara (R) wears a Hilton branded bathrobe to celebrate Hilton's IPO, while working at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid