Marriott's profit rises $114 million in quarter; Net income in '98 increased 20% to $390 million

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Marriott International Inc.'s net income rose almost 18 percent in its fourth quarter, an increase the Bethesda hotel giant attributed to the strength of its brands and the record opening of new hotels carrying the Marriott name.

The company's net income rose to $114 million, or 44 cents a share, in the three-month period that ended Jan. 1.

The earnings were just slightly over a consensus of analyst estimates compiled by First Call Corp.

Revenue in the quarter amounted to $2.5 billion, a 10 percent gain from the comparable period in 1997.

Marriott benefited from the addition of 176 new hotels containing 27,800 rooms in 1998.

"Our brands significantly outperformed the lodging industry averages in both occupancy and [revenue available per room] growth in 1998," said J. W. Marriott Jr., the company's chairman and chief executive officer.

"We opened a record number of new hotels and senior living communities during the year, expanded our worldwide pipeline of lodging properties under development and introduced several exciting new product lines," Marriott said.

For the year that ended Jan. 1, Marriott reported net income of $390 million, a 20 percent increase from 1997. On a per share basis, the company's earnings climbed 23 percent, to $1.46 per share.

Marriott generated revenue of $7.9 billion for the year, a 10 percent gain from 1997.

For the year, Marriott's revenue available per room, a key gauge of a hotel operator's health, rose 6 percent, and average room rates increased by the same figure.

The average occupancy of its projects ended the year essentially flat, at 78 percent.

In all, Marriott's lodging group at year-end had 1,698 properties containing 324,000 rooms and 3,900 time-share villas.

Pub Date: 2/04/99

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