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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2006

Marriott's quarterly profit up 25 percent

By Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post

WASHINGTON Marriott International Inc. said yesterday its fourth-quarter profit rose 25 percent as the modest pace of new hotel development combined with a surge in business travel, leading to increases in room rates that sweetened the company's bottom line.

The Bethesda, Md., hotel operator, which has been upgrading its properties with more modern rooms and comfortable bedding, said its revenue per available room jumped 11 percent for the quarter, pushing overall revenue 16 percent higher, to $3.64 billion from $3.14 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier.

"Strong worldwide economic expansion and impressive lodging industry strength continued in the fourth quarter," said J.W. Marriott Jr., the company's chief executive.

Marriott, which typically operates hotels for their owners in return for management fees and incentive bonuses, said the company saw "impressive demand" from financial services and pharmaceutical firms.

Technology business travel has rebounded, particularly in San Francisco and the suburbs of Boston, Marriott said.

For the quarter, Marriott recorded a profit of $237 million ($1.07 a share), up from $189 million (79 cents) in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Analysts had been expecting earnings of about 98 cents a share.

Shares of Marriott closed yesterday at $67.64, up $1.53.