Marriott Posts Loss; Room Revenue Jumps

BETHESDA, Md. (TheStreet) -- Marriott International (MAR) disappointed investors with a surprise third-quarter loss because of charges to its timeshare operations, though adjusted earnings beat expectations and a key industry metric of room revenue saw a big jump.

Marriott booked a net loss of $179 million, or 52 cents per share, for the quarter, compared with a year-earlier profit of $83 million, or 22 cents per share.

Marriott said earlier this year it plans to spin off its timeshare business, splitting itself into two separate, publicly traded companies. Costs related to the timeshare business dragged down the hotelier's third-quarter results. Excluding those charges, adjusted earnings came to $104 million, or 29 cents a share, topping analysts' consensus call by 2 cents.

Marriott shares have fallen more than 30% in 2011. The stock closed Wednesday's session up 4% at $28.18, and was tacked on 0.3% in after-hours activity following its earnings report.

The company said revPAR -- or revenue per available room, a key metric in the hotel industry that multiplies a property's room rate by its occupancy rate -- jumped 8.7% across its global portfolio of hotels, which include its namesake brand as well as Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance Hotels, among others.

Investors paid close attention to Marriott's first outlook for 2012. Since Marriott is the first of the major hoteliers to report quarterly results, its view could shed light on how other sector players such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide ( HOT), Hyatt Hotels ( H) and Wyndham Worldwide ( WYN) have been faring in recent months, and what the industry expects for next year.

Marriott expects revPAR growth of 3% to 7% in North America, outside North America and worldwide next year. For the fourth quarter ending in December, the company sees earnings of 40 to 45 cents a share. Wall Street's current consensus view is for a profit of 49 cents a share in the quarter.

Business and leisure travel trends have dropped dramatically in recent years amid economic recession and uncertainty, but revenue, room rates and occupancy figures have been creeping back up, particularly among business travelers.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to @miriamsmarket.

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