The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Potash
Corp. of Sakatchewan, CF Industries Holdings, Agrium and Mosaic
CHICAGO, May 17, 2013
CHICAGO, May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Worldwide Inc. (NYSE:HOT), Potash Corp. of Sakatchewan Inc. (NYSE:POT), CF
Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CF), Agrium Inc. (NYSE:AGU) and The Mosaic
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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:
Starwood's Extensive Latin America Plans
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE:HOT) plans to expand its
operations in Latin America by 50% over the next five years. This will lead to
the opening of seven hotels per year on an average in that region.
Starwood has been focusing on this fast growing region for quite some time.
Starwood sees more construction opportunities in Latin America with around
half a billion people and an abundance of natural resources.
The affluent middle class population in Latin America which grew by 50% over
the last decade and greater footfall in the region caught the attention of
Starwood. Apart from being a tourist hub, the region is also emerging as a
Starwood's entry into Latin America dates back to 1963 when Sheraton Maria
Isabel debuted in Mexico City. The property also marks the first international
hotel company in Latin America. Leveraging its first-mover advantage, Starwood
has become one of the most sought-after global brands in Latin America.
Starwood currently operates 72 hotels in 13 countries with a total of 15,600
rooms. Since 2007, its footprint in Latin America grew 36% making it the
largest high-end hotel operator in the region. Presently, it has a pipeline of
19 hotels and intends to open six more under four different brands across four
countries through 2013.
Among all other Latin American countries, Brazil and Colombia are expected to
lead the growth trajectory. Brazil is set to witness a surge in demand driven
by the resurgence of the middle class. A large number of hotels will be
constructed in the country to cash in on the FIFA World Cup, which is
scheduled in 2014 along with the Olympics in 2016.
Of late, Colombia has also undertaken steps to improve its economy and hotel
infrastructure and thereby become an attractive destination for foreign
investment and international hotel brands.
On the flip side, while Brazil and Colombia promise solid growth in the
region, Argentina remains a laggard. In the first quarter of 2013, Starwood's
Latin America revenue per available room (RevPAR) was flat. Management expects
the sluggish trend to persist in the region owing to deteriorating political
situation, rising inflation and an over-valued currency in Argentina. However,
we believe, these threats are short-lived.
Potash Raises Dividend 25%
Potash Corp. of Sakatchewan Inc. (NYSE:POT) has announced a 25% hike in its
quarterly cash dividend from 28 cents per share to 35 cents per share. The
dividend will be paid on Aug 2, 2013, to shareholders of record on Jul 12,
2013. This represents the company's fifth dividend hike since 2011.
Potash Corp. has increased its dividend based on its confidence to generate
strong cash flow in the coming years and remains committed to escalating
returns for its shareholders.
Potash Corp., which is among the prominent players in the fertilizer industry
along with CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CF), Agrium Inc. (NYSE:AGU) and
The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS), released its first-quarter 2013 results in
April. The company's earnings of 63 cents per share in the first quarter
exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 61 cents, reflecting a positive
surprise of around 3.3%. The company posted a profit of $556 million in the
reported quarter, up roughly 13% % from $491 million (56 cents a share)
recorded a year ago.
Sales came in at $2,100 million in the quarter, up 20.3% from $1,746 million
registered a year ago, and ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,923
million. The year-over-year increase was due to improved global potash demand
and record first-quarter nitrogen contributions.
Potash Corp. expects earnings for the second quarter and full-year 2013 in the
range of 70 cents to 85 cents per share and $2.75 to $3.25 per share,
While Potash Corp. may gain from a recovery in fertilizer demand in 2013, it
contends with macroeconomic uncertainties and a challenging demand scenario in
India. The company is also exposed to volatility in potash and phosphate
Potash Corp. currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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