Hyatt Doubles Expansion Plans In China To 22 Hotels

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hyatt Hotels Corp. (H) has doubled the number of hotels it plans to add in China, announcing management agreements for 11 new Hyatt-branded hotels in emerging cities and resort destinations.

The hotelier previously had disclosed another 11 management agreements across all of its brands, including Andaz. Four properties are scheduled to open next year and nine more in 2012.

A number of U.S. hotel operators--including Marriott International Inc. (MAR), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) and Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (WYN)--have been expanding in China's fast-growing market.

Hyatt now has 17 hotels in such markets as Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei. There are more Hyatts in China than in any country except the U.S.

Among the locations for planned hotels are Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Sanya Sunny Bay, Suzhou, Wuxi and Xuzhou.

"One of the drivers of our growth in China is the creation of new urban centers and resort areas where we have the opportunity to establish Hyatt-branded hotels," said Nong Xia, senior vice president of real estate and development for Hyatt in China.

Hyatt in August reported it swung to second-quarter profit absent prior-year charges as occupancies increased and the company had a strong performance in North America. Travel and tourism companies continued to experience improving demand in the latest quarter, with a number of airlines and hotel companies recently posting stronger profits for the latest quarter.

Hyatt, which made its debut as a public company last November, has been looking for acquisition opportunities--especially in major cities where it has a limited presence. The company has a portfolio of 445 properties, in contrast to rivals such as Marriott International and Starwood Hotels that manage thousands of hotels globally.

Its shares were at $41.39, down 11 cents, in after-hours trading. The stock was up 39% this year as of the close.

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