February 25, 2010 / 2:15 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 4-Hyatt's 4th-qtr net loss narrows, shares jump

 * Narrower net loss on international demand, cost cuts
 * Occupancy has risen in markets around the world -CEO
 * Posts better-expected revenue
 * Shares up 4 percent
 (Recasts first sentence, adds analyst comment, CFO comments,
updates share movement, other details)
 By Deepa Seetharaman
 NEW YORK, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Hyatt Hotels Corp H.N posted
a narrower fourth-quarter net loss and higher-than-expected
revenue on Thursday, helped by cost-cutting and strong demand
abroad, sending its shares 4 percent higher.
 Hyatt, controlled by the Pritzker family in Chicago, posted
a net loss of $12 million, or 7 cents per share. A year ago,
Hyatt posted a $142 million net loss, or $1.11 per share.
 Excluding a special charge of $13 million, the company
broke even in the quarter, Hyatt spokeswoman Farley Kern said.
 Shares were up $1.28 or 4.1 percent at $32.43 on the New
York Stock Exchange on Thursday afternoon. The quarterly
results were Hyatt's first since the company went public in
November 2009.
 Strength in international markets, higher-than-expected
revenue and cost-cutting helped fuel the beat, analysts said.
Revenue per available room (revPAR) for Hyatt's hotels abroad
rose 0.4 percent.
 "International revPAR was actually positive. That was
certainly better than most were expecting," said FBR Capital
Markets analyst Patrick Scholes. "That's where the beat on the
quarter came from."
 Hyatt's quarterly revenue rose slightly to $889 million
from $886 million. Analysts had expected about $810 million,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
 Selling, general and administrative costs fell 25 percent.
 About one-quarter of Hyatt's hotels are outside North
America. During a conference call with analysts, Chief
Executive Mark Hoplamazian said the company was seeking joint
ventures to open hotels in emerging markets.
 Hyatt said revPAR for both its North American full-service
and select service hotel segments fell more than 11 percent.
 Marriott International MAR.N and Starwood Hotels &
Resorts HOT.N have also said their international hotels are
faring better than their North American counterparts.
 Roughly 45 percent of Hyatt's revenue comes from so-called
group business, or bookings from large events like conventions,
company meetings or weddings.
 Bookings this segment are still trending below 2010, but
the declines have been lessening since October 2009, said Hyatt
Chief Finance Officer Harmit Singh during a conference call
with analysts.
 "The rate of decline for revPAR has narrowed significantly
compared to prior period," Singh said, referring to revenue per
available room.
 Unlike Marriott and Starwood, Hyatt also owns hotels. The
company owns nearly a quarter of its properties. Hyatt is the
world's 10th-largest hotel company as measured by number of
rooms, according to Smith Travel Research.
 From time to time, Hyatt may sell some properties in order
to generate cash to put into other ventures, Hoplamazian said
during the call. The timing of those sales is uncertain.
 Hyatt may also buy hotel debt to secure new properties or
investing in existing hotels, a move that might eventually
change the brand on that property.
  During the call, Hoplamazian said owning hotels helped
Hyatt better manage hotels for third-party owners.
 "We like to say we eat our own cooking every day," he
 (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman, edited by Maureen Bavdek,
Dave Zimmerman and Matthew Lewis)

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