Paris Hilton is all over the place -- TV, magazines, movies, watches. But there is more than one Hilton making the news. Hilton Hotels'
Analysts were looking for net income of $0.19 per share from $1.05 billion in sales. Hilton exceeded both expectations with $1.08 billion in revenues, leading to earnings of $0.26 per share. Excluding the effects of non-recurring items, such as a gain of $0.06 per share on the sale of six hotels and a $0.02 loss from hedging on currency options, the company earned $0.22 per share in the quarter. This is still a 29.4% increase over the $0.17 earned (accounting for non-recurring items) in the comparable period a year ago.
Revenues improved by 3% versus the year-ago period, buoyed by 27% sales growth from time-share and other income. The company pointed to markets in New York and Honolulu, as well as a few others, as sites of particularly brisk hotel activity. It took advantage of the heavy customer traffic by increasing rates. Also, revenues per available room (RevPAR) from comparable owned hotels increased 13.5% year over year. Hilton expects the positive trend to continue, projecting this metric to grow 8% to 10% in 2006. In the conference call, management indicated that high demand and low supply is helping fuel sales.
Beyond top- and bottom-line strength, another highlight worth commenting on is its expansion efforts. Its acquisition of Hilton Group is an obvious part of this; the integration is expected to be completed in the first quarter of fiscal 2006. Organic unit development is also an integral piece of its growth plans. Hilton opened 48 more hotels in the fourth quarter, for a total of 2,388 by year's end. The company is in the process of adding an additional 600 units in the foreseeable future, which doesn't include international opportunities.
Hilton has been building momentum over the last several years, and its stock has moved right with it. Are the good times over? It sure doesn't look that way. A look at its recent results, 2006 expectations, and its brand development and unit growth plans all point to continued success.
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Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares of any companies mentioned.