Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has reported a large decline in net income for the first quarter, but a modest gain in revenue.

First-quarter net income declined 74 percent to US$32m, after a tax charge reduced profit.

Revenue rose 2.4 percent to US$1.47bn.

Revenue per available room (revPAR) increased 15 percent in Europe and 16 percent in Asia.

The company says it expects full-year revPAR growth between eight and ten percent worldwide and between four and six percent in North America.

“Uncertainty surrounding the US economic environment and its impact on travel patterns continues to make it difficult to predict future results,” Starwood says.

Starwood plans to open 54 new Sheratons with 20,000 rooms in North America in the next two years and last month announced it will spend US$1.3bn to upgrade 100 existing Sheratons.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh