* First-quarter EPS forecast $0.51-$0.54 vs est $0.48
* Adjusted EPS $0.70 vs est $0.65
* Sees 2013 revPAR growing by 5 to 7 percent
By Bijoy Anandoth Koyitty
Feb 7 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc
, whose chains include Sheraton and Westin, raised the
lower end of its full-year forecast for its per-room revenue on
an anticipcated rise in demand, but its shares fell 3 percent on
Excluding one-time items, Starwood earned 70 cents per share
in the fourth quarter from continuing operations, 5 cents above
what analysts were expecting on average.
However, Starwood shares, which have gained about 16 percent
in the last three months, were down 2 percent at $61.52 in
mid-day trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
"The results were basically a low-quality earnings beat, and
the 2013 outlook is pretty much in line with consensus. This is
not spectacular by any means," FBR Capital Markets analyst
Nikhil Bhalla said.
Encouraged by a pick up demand, Starwood raised the lower
end of its 2013 forecast for revPAR, or revenue per available
room - a key metric for the hotel industry. It now expects
revPAR to grow 5 to 7 percent this year, compared with its
initial estimate 4 to 7 percent.
Starwood, which focuses on upscale customers, is set to do
well in the United States, its largest market, as a business-led
recovery drives up hotel occupancy rates.
However, its less diverse rivals like Marriott International
and Hyatt Hotels Corp are expected to benefit more
from the U.S. recovery because of their larger exposure to the
Starwood has 40 pct of its EBITDA (earnings before interest,
tax, depreciation and amortization) coming from the United
States, while Marriott and Hyatt draw about 70 pct of their's
from the United States, analyst Bhalla said.
Starwood, which also franchises the W, St. Regis and Le
Meridien brands, runs its hotel and leisure business directly
and through subsidiaries. The company's second largest geography
is China, followed by Europe.
"We are poised to benefit from higher rates in North America
and Europe, where demand is growing but supply is already
short," Starwood Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen said in a
He said demand is also improving in Asia, Latin America,
Middle East and Africa.
Starwood forecast first-quarter earnings of 51 cents to 54
cents per share, topping analysts' expectations of 48 cents per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, net income from
continuing operations fell to $65 million, or 33 cents per
share, from $158 million, or 80 cents per share, a year earlier.