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Hyatt Hotels Sails Above Estimates, Reiterates Expansion Plans

By Features FOXBusiness

Hyatt Hotels (H) reported a sharply higher fourth-quarter profit on Thursday that trumped Wall Street expectations, and reiterated plans to open more hotels abroad in 2012.  

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The Chicago-based hotel chain operator posted net income of $52 million, or 31 cents a share, compared with $6 million, or 3 cents, in the year-earlier period.

The results were far ahead of average analyst estimates of 13 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Shares of Hyatt were up about 1.2% to $42.35 in morning trade.

The company saw owned and leased hotel revenues per available room climb 6% during the period on both domestic and international gains. Hotel operating margins grew by 310 basis points.

Hyatt added the 150-room Hyatt House Boston/Burlington to its portfolio during the period on the LodgeWorks acquisition, but removed Hyatt Regence Crown Center due to the lease’s expiration.

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The company, which opened 40 hotels in 2011, said it plans to open “a significant number of new properties in future,” with particular focus on its expansion abroad.  

At the end of last year, Hyatt held executive management or franchise contracts for more than 170 hotels, representing potential entry into many new countries. 

Hyatt said some 70% of the projected new hotels will be located outside North America.