Monday, February 22, 1999

Aston operations

By Russ Lynch


While its parent company ResortQuest International Inc. lost money, Hawaii-based Aston Hotels & Resorts had an improved fourth quarter.

ResortQuest today said its Hawaii operations -- mostly Aston but including smaller vacation operations on Maui and Kauai -- showed higher fourth-quarter room revenues, occupancy levels and room rates. The Hawaii business had lodging revenues of $43.4 million in the last three months of 1998, up 2.3 percent from $31.7 million in the 1997 final quarter, according to ResortQuest's quarterly report.

Fourth-quarter occupancy at the Hawaii operations averaged 70.3 percent, up from 68.9 percent in the year-earlier quarter, and the average daily room rate of $99.59 was up 1.3 percent from the year-earlier $98.34. Aston operates about 30 hotels and vacation condominium resorts.

Overall, ResortQuest lost $920,000, or 5 cents a share, in the latest quarter, compared with a profit of $533,000, or 3 cents a share in the 1997 final quarter. The loss came mainly because of off-season losses at five mainland companies it bought late last year

Year-to-year comparisons are difficult because the Memphis, Tenn.-based company reports year-earlier results for Aston and the other 12 companies financed by its initial public offering in May 1998 but shows only the 1998 results for the five businesses purchased later in the year.

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