* Q3 EPS 17 cents vs 3 cents last year
* Revenue up 9 pct to $879 mln
* Shares up 0.5 pct (Rewrites first paragraph, adds byline, estimates, shares, analyst and company comment)
By Helen Chernikoff
NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Hyatt Hotels Corp (H.N) posted sharply higher quarterly profit on Wednesday and beat analysts’ estimates as demand for business travel improved, sending its shares up during afternoon trading even as rivals fell with the broader market.
The hotel owner and operator, controlled by the Pritzker family in Chicago, posted third-quarter earnings of $30 million, or 17 cents per share, up from $5 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, the hotelier earned a profit of 6 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimates of 4 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“The company is clearly experiencing the same recovery in operating fundamentals that’s being seen by many of the other hotel companies,” said Green Street Advisors analyst John Arabia.
Rivals Marriott International MAR.N and Starwood Hotels & Resorts HOT.N also said in their most recent quarterly reports that they have seen a recovery in business travel.
Hyatt said its revenue per available room, or revPAR, was up 6.9 percent.
Revenue rose 9 percent to $879 million.
Business has driven the broader economic recovery, which bodes well for business travel, the company said during a conference call with analysts.
But a timid consumer shaken by depressed housing prices is causing leisure travel to lag, the company said.
Hyatt’s worldwide portfolio consisted of 447 properties as of Sept. 30. By contrast, Marriott and Starwood operate thousands of properties.
Hyatt's shares were up 20 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $41.16 during afternoon trading on the New York stock exchange. The Dow Jones US Hotels index .DJUSLG was down 0.29 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX was down 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, John Wallace and Bernard Orr)