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Stock update: Boyd, Choice, Host and more
August 20 2010

Included in this week’s roundup of public hotel company news: Host announces stock sale, Choice prices its senior notes, and Las Vegas Sands hits a 52-week high.

By Shawn A. Turner
Finance Editor recaps hotel-related financial news each week. Following are updates for: Boyd Gaming Corporation, Choice Hotels International, Host Hotels & Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index was at 1871.23 as of 10 a.m. today. It closed Thursday at 1891.35.

Boyd Gaming Corporation

Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD) was upgraded to “hold” from “underweight” by EVA Dimensions, according to

Las Vegas-based Boyd’s stock closed Thursday at US$7.96 per share, down 4.9%, or 41 cents per share, year-to-date.

Choice Hotels International

Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH) confirmed the pricing of its senior notes in an aggregate principal amount of US$250 million.

The Silver Spring, Maryland-based company said the notes will mature in August 2020 and will bear interest at a rate of 5.7%.  The notes will be unsecured, unsubordinated obligations of the Company and will be guaranteed by certain U.S. subsidiaries of the Company.

Choice intends to use proceeds from the notes to repay debt under its unsecured revolving credit facility.

Host Hotels & Resorts

Bethesda, Maryland-based Host Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HST) plans to sell up to US$400 million in stock to, in part, fuel its hunt for hotel deals.

Net proceeds are expected to be US$395 million if the full amount is raised. An unidentified portion of that amount would go toward deal-making, as well as for general corporate purposes and investments in short term securities, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Las Vegas Sands Corporation

Las Vegas Sands Corporation (NYSE: LVS) hit a 52-week high of US$30.47 this week. The stock closed at US$29.64 Thursday and is up 98.4%, or US$14.70 per share, year-to-date.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Morningstar has initiated its credit rating on Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE: HOT) at “BB.”

“Profitability should be below average historical margins in the near term because of continued weakness in the travel market,” the Morningstar Credit Committee said in a statement. “However, luxury properties are experiencing a recovery in rates more quickly than economy brands. Over the longer term, we expect operating margins to approximate 15% as the firm continues to expand its higher-margin business of hotel management.”

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