UPDATE 1-Increased business travel boosts Starwood profit

Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:09am EDT

(Adds details, forecast, Wyndham results)

July 24 (Reuters) - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as an increase in global business travel drove occupancy and room rates.

The operator of the Sheraton and Westin chain of hotels also raised its full-year profit forecast to $2.78-$2.85 per share from $2.76-$2.83.

"As we look ahead to the balance of the year, we expect that global trend lines will fuel demand for high-end travel," Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen said in a statement.

Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, Starwood reported a 5.3 percent rise in revenue per available room (RevPAR) at its global hotels open at least one year.

RevPAR is calculated by multiplying a hotel's average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

Smaller hotel operator Wyndham Worldwide Corp also reported a better-than-expected rise in second-quarter profit on Thursday.

Starwood's net income rose to $153 million, or 80 cents per share, for second quarter ended June 30, from $138 million, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 77 cents per share from continuing operations.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood, which has nearly half of its properties outside North America, said total revenue fell 1 percent to $1.54 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 75 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Starwood's shares closed at $83.74 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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