Marriott International Inc. reported yesterday that its first-quarter net income rose 22 percent, to $77 million from $63 million, the result of growth in international markets and higher rates for its hotel rooms.
The Bethesda-based hotel operator earned 57 cents a share for the quarter ended March 28, compared with 47 cents a share for the corresponding period the year before. Analysts had projected that earnings would be between 55 cents and 65 cents a share.
Sales were up 18 percent, to $2.6 billion, from $2.2 billion in the 1996 period.
The company attributed the double-digit increase in this quarter and several previous quarters to stronger demand for hotel rooms and worldwide expansion.
Occupancy rates rose at Marriott Hotels, Resorts and Suites by half a percentage point, to 78 percent, and room rates were up an average of 8 percent, to $129.
"Marriott Lodging continues to benefit from favorable conditions in most segments of the U.S. hotel industry and from our worldwide expansion program," said J. W. Marriott Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International.
Shortly after the quarter ended, the company completed the $1 billion purchase of Renaissance Hotel Group N.V., which operates Renaissance, New World and Ramada International in 38 countries. Renaissance Hotel Group has 150 properties with 46,000 rooms.
Marriott plans to continue its aggressive growth by adding a total of 67,000 hotel rooms this year.
The operating profit for the company's contract services, such as restaurant work and stadium supply services, rose 41 percent on sales growth of 30 percent.
Marriott's shares fell 12.5 cents to $52.375 yesterday.
Pub Date: 4/18/97