In the last year, shares of Marriott International are up more than 30%. The question, though, is if there is still an opportunity for investors.
Last week Marriott announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 results. Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $0.85 were $0.01 better than the consensus estimate. Revenue was $5.46 billion versus the $4.89 billion estimate. Results include the acquisition of Starwood. Fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $334 million, a 15% increase over last year.
Marriott and Starwood added more than 68,000 rooms, including roughly 11,000 converted from competitor brands and 31,000 in international markets. The company has a pipeline of hotels under development, which would add more than 420,000 rooms to its ever-growing portfolio.
For full-year 2016, Marriott repurchased 8.0 million shares of stock for $573 million, including 4.3 million for $348 million in the fourth quarter.
On Sept. 23, Marriott completed its purchase of Starwood Hotels. The combined companies have over 1.2 million rooms in 5,974 hotels scattered throughout 120 countries.
Marriott now offers 30 brands, including a big position in luxury and lifestyle hotels, such as the St. Regis and W Hotels. The companies believe they can squeeze out as much as $250 million in duplicate expenses, as early as 2018. Both management teams are excited to combine the customer loyalty programs that would give one another access to millions of customers. Marriott boasts 55 million rewards members, while Starwood has 21 million preferred guest members.
Marriott has an especially efficient sales force that targets large corporations and believes both brands can benefit from the combination.
Marriott and Starwood have sold about 97% of their hotel properties to franchisees and simply collect management and performance fees for running the hotels. This "asset light" model allows the companies to earn a higher return on invested capital, lower their capital requirements and support higher margins. It also helps to offload the seasonality of the business to someone else.
Management has updated its 2017 guidance. The company is looking for RevPAR (revenue per available room) to increase 0.5%-2.5% worldwide and for EBITDA of $3.075-3.175 billion, which works out to EPS of about $4.01.
At recent prices, I believe much of the good news has already been booked, so consider building positions on any weakness.