Wyndham Shares Climb as 4Q Surprises Street

By Jennifer Booton Features FOXBusiness

Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and sales on Wednesday, fueled by its lodging business and continued growth in vacation ownership.

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The Parsippany, N.J.-based resort operator posted net income of $81 million, or 57 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $73 million, or 37 cents.

Excluding special items, Wyndham earned 63 cents, topping average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll by three cents.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 climbed 9% to $1.09 billion, up from $1.0 billion a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $1.06 billion.

“These results reflect the momentum in our business, the strong execution by our teams and a capital allocation philosophy that works for shareholders," said Wyndham CEO Stephen Holmes.

Shares of Wyndham climbed nearly 6% to a 52-week high of $59.84 in recent trade.

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The quarterly performance was led by growth in the company’s lodging and vacation ownership businesses, with EPS being further boosted by Wyndham’s buyback plan, which reduced fourth-quarter weighted average share count by 8% year-over-year.

Looking toward fiscal 2013, the hotel operator narrowed its revenue and EPS outlook slightly but said it expects sales to still trump Wall Street expectations. 

Wyndham now projects sales between $4.90 billion and $5.05 billion, slightly below an earlier outlook, but above average analyst estimates of $4.82 billion.

It anticipates earnings in the range of $3.50 to $3.60 a share, missing the Street's view of $3.62.