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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Isle project a drag on Hilton income

Advertiser News Services

LOS ANGELES Second-quarter earnings at Hilton Hotels Corp. failed to meet expectations yesterday mainly because of renovations at properties in Hawai'i and New York, despite a jump in revenue driven by higher room prices.

Still, shares of the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company rose on an improved outlook for the remainder of the year.

Hilton reported net income of $144 million, or 35 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30, down from $202 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier.

Hilton's income was reduced by renovations at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hilton New York and the WaldorfAstoria in New York, the company said in a conference call with investors and analysts. That took rooms in key markets out of circulation and cut $15 million from 2006's earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Hilton President Matthew Hart said repairs at the Waldorf and the Hawaiian Village will be completed in the third quarter.

Excluding one-time gains related to tax benefits, second-quarter profit was 32 cents per share, compared with 27 cents a year ago.

Revenue rose to $2.2 billion from $1.18 billion a year earlier.

Analysts projected earnings of 34 cents per share on sales of $2.21 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

"All three parts of our company the hotels we own, our management and franchise fee business, and our time-share operations continue to perform extremely well as our unparalleled collection of respected brands remain the first choices for the world's travelers and hotel owners," Stephen Bollenbach, co-chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

The company added 55 properties and 8,362 rooms in the quarter, bringing its worldwide total to 2,861 hotels and 492,6230 rooms.

The company said it expects full-year earnings in the range of $1.17 to $1.21 per share, and operating earnings, excluding one-time charges and gains, of between $1.08 and $1.12 per share, for the full year. Total revenue is seen between $8.1 billion and $8.13 billion.

The company said it will continue its program of selling properties for the remainder of the year, but declined to identify which properties were for sale or how much they were likely to fetch.

Hilton shares rose 23 cents to close at $24.16 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.