Higher room rates help Hyatt top profit estimates

Wed May 1, 2013 8:45am EDT

(Reuters) - Hyatt Hotels Corp (H.N) posted a quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates, helped by higher room rates as the company gained from increased demand in the United States.

Hyatt, controlled by the billionaire Pritzker family, draws about three quarters of its revenue from the United States, where a business-led recovery has lifted hotel occupancy rates over the past year.

The company's results follow better-than-expected earnings from peer Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT.N) that were driven by increased check-ins at higher room rates.

Hyatt, which owns and operates the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency hotels, said comparable systemwide RevPAR, or revenue per available room, a key measure of hotel health, was up 2.4 percent. Excluding the effect of currency, it rose about 3.2 percent.

Total revenue rose about 2 percent to $975 million.

Excluding items, profit was 9 cents per share for the quarter, topping analysts' estimates of 8 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Transient rooms revenue at comparable U.S. full service hotels increased 8 percent in the quarter. Transient customers refer to individual travelers, whose spending is mostly room-related.

Hyatt said it boosted its share buyback plan for 2013 by up to $200 million.

Net income fell to $8 million, or 5 cents per share, for the first quarter, from $10 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned 9 cents per share.

Chicago-based Hyatt's stock has gained about 10 percent this year to Tuesday's close of $42.69 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Ritika Rai in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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