Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) today reported net income of $8.1 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, 1998, compared to net income for the same period of 1997 of $5.7 million, or $0.09 per diluted share. The $0.13 per share includes approximately $0.01 resulting from a one time sale of certain investments held by the company. Exclusive of this one time gain, diluted earnings per share increased 33.3 percent to $0.12 per share from $0.09 per share.
For the first quarter of 1998, Choice generated $56.7 million in total revenues, and operating income of $14.1 million, as compared to $56.6 million in revenues, and $12.7 million in operating income for the quarter ended March 31, 1997. RevPAR (revenue per available room) rose from $25.04 in the year-ago quarter to $26.08 for the quarter just ended. This represents a year-over-year RevPAR increase of $1.04, or 4.1 percent. For the period ended March 31, 1998, the total number of Choice hotels on-line grew 7.1 percent from 3,290 in the same year-ago period to 3,522 in the quarter just ended. Total room growth increased 5.4 percent from 279,738 in the year-ago quarter to 294,937 in the quarter just ended. The company added 38 opened hotels to its system in the first quarter of this year. There are 878 hotels currently under development representing 77,996 rooms which is an increase of 9.0% and 9.8% respectively from the first quarter of 1997. RevPAR and hotel growth drove royalties which increased to $20.8 million or 14.2 percent for the quarter ended March 31, 1998 from $18.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 1997.
William R. Floyd, president and chief executive officer of Choice said, “Every indicator of corporate performance exceeded expectations. Choice`s earnings, franchising royalties, and RevPAR were higher year over year. The development pipeline is showing strong gains compared to last year. Based on the strength of this performance, we are enthusiastic about the upcoming summer season, a traditionally busy time, and we look forward to continuing to build on Choice`s strategies for growth and expansion in the U.S. and overseas.”