Hyatt Hotels Corp. shares shot up more than 7 percent Friday on the news that profits were well ahead of projections.
The company posted fourth-quarter 2013 profits of $51 million, or 32 cents per share.
Wall Street was expecting earnings of 20 cents per share.
The results compare to fourth-quarter 2012 earnings of just $33 million (22 cents).
Travel was up, CEO Mark S. Hoplamazian said.
“In the fourth quarter, we continued to see positive demand trends among both transient and group travelers, particularly in the Americas,” he said. “This is leading to continued rate improvement across our brands.
“We continue to be focused on expanding our presence in key markets around the world. During the quarter, we opened 16 hotels, bringing our total hotel openings for the year to 51 hotels. The fourth quarter openings included our first all inclusive resorts, Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and Hyatt Zilara Cancun and the second resort for the Andaz brand, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo that opened to very positive guest feedback and joins the recently opened Andaz Maui at Wailea. We also continued to expand the Hyatt Place brand by opening hotels in urban markets such as Charlotte, Minneapolis, Nashville and Omaha. Our current base of executed contracts for new hotels is the largest it has ever been and represents approximately 40% of our current system size, reflecting healthy demand for our brands across all regions.
“Our asset recycling strategy continues to provide additional opportunities to fund growth in targeted areas. In 2013, we sold seven full service and three select service hotels at strong pricing while maintaining brand presence. Additionally, we realized more than $400 million in cash from the settlement of loans, and the sale of venture and preferred equity investments. During the fourth quarter, we acquired our partners interest in Grand Hyatt San Antonio, a leading hotel that is adjacent to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Consistent with our asset recycling strategy, we recently announced the expected sale of a portfolio of 10 hotels under the Hyatt Place, Hyatt House and Hyatt brands to a high quality owner for $313 million.
“Looking ahead, we expect healthy occupancy levels in the U.S. to support increasing strength in room prices. We expect to continue our asset recycling program and deploy proceeds into key growth priorities in order to drive guest and owner preference for our brands.”
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