Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s chief financial officer, guest-blogs for Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International, reflecting on the Economy and Marriott’s Prospects for 2009.
“With the slowdown, our stock value has eroded meaningfully in the past year. Just because we have plenty of company doesn’t make the decline any easier. Before things get better, we’re going to have to navigate through a tough 2009… Despite this, and even though the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, we have much to be thankful for. First and foremost, we have a terrific management team, beginning with Bill Marriott, who has been through significant downturns before and has noted that each time we’ve come back stronger…Our business strategy of managing and franchising hotels protects us in slowdowns and primes us for better days. Marriott is a remarkably resilient cash flow generator, even when business slows. Our balance sheet is in good shape and we have access to cash through our revolving line of credit, which has over a billion dollars remaining available. Because of our excellent financial shape, the revolver, as it is called, is free of many of the complex restrictions companies can often experience. In fact, with our solid cash flow and more modest investment spending in 2009, we expect our debt levels will decline next year…”
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