Starwood Q3 profit up, but growth slows

By Danny King
Starwood Hotels & Resorts' third-quarter profit rose 4.3% from a year earlier, but the results reflected slower growth in demand both in the U.S. and overseas.

Share prices were down Thursday morning after the No. 2 publicly traded U.S. hotelier, behind Marriott International, lagged analysts' revenue estimates.

Starwood's North American hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth, excluding currency effects, slowed to 5.3% from 7.3% in the second quarter, while global RevPAR growth slowed to 4.7% from 6.9%. Revenue rose 6% to $1.46 billion, which was less than the $1.48 billion estimated by analysts in a Thomson Reuters survey.

"The key question is whether this quarter's results reflect a recovery that's lost its steam," Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen said on a conference call with analysts Thursday morning. "We won't know for a while."

As for Starwood's brands, Aloft and W showed the strongest RevPAR growth, while demand was down at St. Regis, the Luxury Collection and Le Meridien. RevPAR at Sheraton was little changed from a year earlier.

Starwood's net income rose 4.3% to $170 million from $163 million a year earlier. Profits rose primarily because of the inclusion of results from its St. Regis Bal Harbour vacation-rental property, which was completed in January.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.
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