The Marriott hotel chain posted a third-quarter loss Friday of $144 million, a $311 million slip from the $167 million profit it posted during the same period in 2010.
The loss was attributed to a $324 million impairment charge it posted to its timeshare business, which it decided in February to spin off into a separate publicly traded company called Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp.
As part of that process, on Sept. 8 management decided to accelerate cash flow by dumping excess undeveloped land and excess built luxury inventory in the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas over the next 18 to 24 months.
The company explained that as a result of the decision, “in accordance with the guidance for accounting for the impairment or disposal of long-lived assets, because the nominal cash flows from the planned land sales and the estimated fair values of the land and excess built luxury inventory were less than their respective carrying values, we recorded a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of $324 million ($234 million after-tax) in our 2011 third quarter income statements.”
Other factors contributing to the results were a $31 million increase in general expenses and $20 million of lower timeshare sales. The expenses were partially offset by revenue increases: a $28 million increase in base management and franchise fees; $28 million of higher owned, leased, corporate housing; $8 million of higher incentive management fees; and other revenues net of direct expenses.
General expenses increased by $31 million (21 percent) to $180 million in the third quarter of 2011 from $149 million in the third quarter of 2010.
Exclusive of the timeshare impairment charge, the company posted profits of 29 cents per share, up 32 percent on the year, and well within expectations of 25 to 29 cents per share.
The company posted profits in each of the year’s first two quarters.