Starwood plans to open 50 new European hotels

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is planning to open 50 new hotels in Europe over the next five years as demand for its brands strengthens.

The lodging company, whose brands include Westin, Sheraton and the St. Regis, said Tuesday that this will boost the number of hotels it has there by 30 percent. In 2013, Starwood will open nine hotels in Europe in countries including Russia and Turkey. It currently has 163 hotels in 32 European countries.

"There is strong demand for all of our brands on the continent and, after years of tight supply, we are seeing great deal signing momentum in Europe both in established and rapidly growing markets," Simon Turner, president of global development, said in a statement.

Starwood and its owner partners are also planning to invest more than $200 million to renovate and restore its Luxury Collection hotels.

Last month the company reported that its fourth-quarter net income fell 15 percent, pulled down by a large charge. Its adjusted results and revenue topped Wall Street's view.

Starwood, which is based in Stamford, Conn., has 1,134 properties in nearly 100 countries.