* Sees 2011 shr $1.60-1.70 vs est $1.68
* Q1 shr $0.30 ex items vs est $0.25
(Rewrites, adds estimates, revPAR, outlook, background)
NEW YORK, April 28 Starwood Hotels & Resorts
HOT.N raised its outlook for the year and reported a
higher-than-expected quarterly profit, buoyed by an increase in
business travel demand.
The owner of Sheraton and St. Regis predicted 2011 earnings
of $1.60 to $1.70 per share, up from an earlier forecast of
$1.55 to $1.65 per share.
Excluding a charge related to the earthquake in Japan last
month, the company posted first-quarter earnings of $58
million, or 30 cents per share, compared with $24 million, or
13 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts expected profits of 25 cents per share, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Starwood, which is the eighth-biggest hotel operator in the
world by room count according to Smith Travel Research, said
revenue per available room, or revPAR, rose 10.4 percent in the
A commonly used gauge of a hotel's financial health, revPAR
multiples the occupancy rate by the room rate.
Although the U.S. economic recovery remains sluggish,
lodging has bounced back faster than many industries and asset
classes due to hoteliers ability to adjust its room rates
nightly as travel demand has risen.
"Airlines have successfully raised prices 7 times so far
this year, indicating the strength of underlying travel
demand," wrote Hudson Securities analyst Robert LaFleur, who
has a "buy" rating on Starwood's shares.
(Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and