Marriott’s first quarter ends better than expected

Marriott International Inc. far surpassed its expected first quarter results, the Bethesda-based company announced Tuesday.

The company’s net income for the first quarter was $172 million, a 26 percent increase over the first quarter of 2013, which was three days longer. Diluted earnings per share were 57 cents, beating the company’s February estimate of 47 to 52 cents.

Marriott’s revenue per available room increased by 6.2 percent for comparable properties across the world, 6.3 percent in North America.

“North American group and transient demand exceeded our expectations during the quarter,” said Arne M. Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott, in a statement. “We were particularly pleased to see higher food and beverage spending by both groups and transient guests.”

Marriott added 32 properties with a total of 5,855 rooms to its worldwide portfolio in the first quarter, and exited 14 properties with a total of 2,154 rooms.  The company had more than 200,000 rooms in its development pipeline at quarter end, 35 percent more than it did one year ago.

That does not include more than 10,000 rooms that entered Marriott’s pipeline on April 1, when the company completed its acquisition of Protea Hospitality Group, which make it the largest hotel company in Africa.

For the quarter, Marriott’s occupancy was at 70.1 percent worldwide, at an average daily rate of $180.57. Average daily rates in North America were up 3.3 percent in the quarter.

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