Choice Hotels International, franchiser of several brands including Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge, said its fourth-quarter profit was little changed from a year earlier.

Choice said higher revenue was offset by higher interest expenses. Revenue rose 7.5% to $178.3 million, but interest expenses rose on money borrowed to pay a $600 million dividend that was distributed last August.

As a result, net income fell less than 1% to $24.5 million.

The company, which franchises about 6,200 hotels, boosted fourth-quarter revenue from royalty fees and revenue from reservations support by 4.9% and 10%, respectively.

Comfort Suites hotels increased revenue per available room (RevPAR) by 6.1%, Sleep Inn hotels by 8.6%. Across all Choice brands, RevPAR advanced 4.2%.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.

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