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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (HOT - Analyst Report) is on the verge of signing new deals and launching hotels in the flourishing Indian and South Asian market in order to further ramp up its presence in the region.

Commencing its journey in 1973, the company now owns 34 hotels in the region with as many as 24 properties currently under construction. Also, with a clear intent of embarking on the hospitality business, in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the company entered into 10 contracts in 2012.

Starwood Hotels will launch Le Meridien Dhaka in Bangladesh in 2013. It will be also opening Sheraton Colombo Hotel in Sri Lanka in late 2013 and The Four Points by Sheraton Colombo, International Airport in 2014. These hotel openings are in line with the company’s strategy to venture into new markets.

With increasing demand, the company aims to operate nearly 100 Starwood Hotels branded properties across India by 2015.

In a concerted endeavor to strengthen its full-service, luxury brand portfolio with 150 properties worldwide, the company is continuously constructing new hotels mostly in the emerging markets with its special focus on India.

The company will launch W Retreat & Spa Goa and The St. Regis Noida, Delhi NCR in 2014 and 2017, respectively, which will mark the debut of luxury brands W and St. Regis in India.

It will also unveil Sheraton Greater Noida Hotel, Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Center in 2014 and Le Méridien Delhi NCR, Noida in 2016. The company is also engaged in the refurbishment of three Le Méridien branded properties in Bangalore, Jaipur and Kochi.

Besides, the company’s upscale brand Sheraton, Westin and Le Méridien will also witness high growth in India with the launch of The Westin Chennai Velachery and Sheraton Chandigarh Hotel in India in 2013.

Starwood Hotels has an established resort business in South Asia, especially in Koh Samui, Phuket, Langkawi, Bali and Maldives. The company is now trying to enhance its resort business in India through doubling the number of its resort room. In this regard, it will open Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa in Orissa and The Westin Bekal Resort & Spa in Kerala in late 2013 and 2014, respectively.

The company’s mid-market brands, Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft is also extending its operations in India with the inauguration of Aloft Ahmedabad SG Road and Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park under its Aloft brand in 2013.

Starwood currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Top Starwood’s peers such as Choice Hotels International Inc. (CHH - Snapshot Report) and Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Snapshot Report)  carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), whereas The Marcus Corporation (MCS - Snapshot Report) holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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