Marriott International on Wednesday reported its first financial results since spinning off its timeshare business in November, and profit for the slimmer company fell while revenue rose slightly.
Profit for the three months ending December dipped to $141 million, or 41 cents a share, from $173 million, or 46 cents, a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose to $3.69 billion from $3.64 billion a year earlier.
Factoring out the timeshare business, net income totaled $159 million, or 46 cents a share. That represents an 18 percent increase over what the Bethesda-based hotel operator calls adjusted earnings for the same period in 2010.
Fourth-quarter revenues excluding the timeshare business rose from $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion, falling short of the $3.8 billion in revenue projected by analysts polled by Thompson Reuters IBES. For the full year, Marriott recorded $11 billion in adjusted revenue, compared to $10.2 billion in 2010.
Revenue per available room — a key performance metric — rose 5.9 percent, while average daily rates climbed 3.7 percent over the prior year in the fourth quarter.
Revenue per available room “is on track in the U.S., where there is not a lot of supply growth. And demand is getting better, which is encouraging,” said Laura Paugh, senior vice president of Investor Relations at Marriott, in an interview.
Cash flow, she noted, is “very strong,” reflected in the company’s earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation which was up 12 percent for the year. “We expect adjusted EBIDTA to grow 10 to 16 percent in 2012. Because our cash flow was so strong we bought back a lot of stock.”
Marriott repurchased 43.4 million shares of common stock at a cost of $1.4 billion in 2011, and last week authorized the repurchase of another 35 million shares.
While group bookings have been sluggish as the hotel industry recovers, Paugh said Marriott is tracking a 9 percent increase in such reservations for 2012.