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Marriott's earning rise on higher rates, occupancy

FILE - In this , Tuesday, April 30, 2013, file photo, a man works on a new Marriott sign in front of the former Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Ark. Marriott reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Marriott International's third-quarter earnings rose 12 percent thanks to higher occupancy, room rates and a pickup in short-term group bookings.

The hotel chain, best known for brands like Courtyard, Ritz Carlton and Fairfield Inn, reported net income of $160 million, or 53 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That was up from $143 million, or 45 cents per share, in the 2012 third quarter.

The Bethesda, Md.-based company changed its reporting calendar and this year's quarter is eight days longer than last year.

Marriott reported $3.16 billion in revenue, up 16 percent from $2.73 billion last year.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 45 cents per share and revenue of $3.04 million, according to FactSet.

The company's revenue per available room — or REVPAR — was $104.77, up 4.8 percent from the prior year. Analysts had predicted it would be $104.

The figure is an important gauge for the industry because it measures occupancy and rates.

"Our development pipeline increased for the fifth-straight quarter and we're on track to sign a record number of rooms in 2013," CEO Arne M. Sorenson said in a statement. "In Asia, we expect to open, on average, one hotel every eight days through 2016."

Most of the company's growth continued to come from hotels it manages or franchises. Revenue was flat on the handful of properties the company itself owns.

The biggest growth was the Caribbean and Latin America market, while the European market and the Middle East and Africa market remain the weakest.

Like other hotel companies, the luxury market continues to boom for Marriott. It's Ritz-Carlton brand saw revenue per available room climb 8.2 percent, year-over-year, in North America to $230.95. Budget-focused TownePlace Suites, in contrast, saw just a 1.7-percent jump to $67.54.

The company said it expects fourth-quarter profit to range between 47 cents and 50 cents per share, with revenue ranging from $370 million to $380 million. For the year, Marriott forecast profit between $1.98 and $2.01 per share, on revenue of $15.25 billion to $15.35 billion

Wall Street is expecting fourth quarter earnings of 55 cents per share, on revenue of $3.35 billion, and full-year profit of $1.99 per share, on $12.74 billion revenue.

Marriott International Inc. shares closed Wednesday trading down 41 cents at $44.20, up 19 percent since the start of the year. They were unchanged afterhours.