Sunday, December 14, 2008

LodgeNet Interactive Corp. Rating Cut To 'B-'

CHICAGO, IL--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has lowered its corporate credit rating on Sioux Falls, S.D.-based LodgeNet Interactive Corp. (formerly LodgeNet Entertainment Corp.) to 'B-' from 'B'. The rating outlook is stable. The issue-level rating on the company's secured debt also was lowered to 'B-' from 'B'.

(Scott C. Petersen, chairman and CEO, LodgeNet, top right photo)

"The downgrade is based on our concern that the company could violate its leverage covenant once covenants tighten in the first quarter of 2009, particularly given the steep decline in the operating performance and challenging economy," explained Standard & Poor's credit analyst Jeanne Mathewson.

(David M. Bankers, senior vice president, product and technology development; and chief technology officer, LodgeNet, top left photo)

The reported leverage as per the covenant calculation was 4.38x as of Sept. 30, 2008, versus the leverage ratio covenant of 4.50x, which further tightens to 4.25x on March 31, 2009.

LodgeNet will need to significantly reduce debt in order to maintain compliance, based on our expectation that EBITDA will continue to decline well into 2009. As of Sept. 30, 2008, LodgeNet had outstanding debt of $610.5 million.

The 'B-' rating reflects LodgeNet's slim cushion of compliance with its bank covenants, declining operating trends, exposure to the cyclical and seasonal lodging industry (which is facing challenges due to the economic downturn), and the limited size and long-term growth potential of this market niche.

LodgeNet's operating results are subject to consumer and corporate travel, to the discretionary nature of traveler purchases, and to the unpredictable quality of movies, which generate the majority of room revenue.

(James G. Naro, senior vice president, legal and human Resources; and general counsel, LodgeNet, middle right photo)

Longer term, we are concerned that increasing broadband access in hotel rooms, combined with growing usage of portable devices, could reduce demand for LodgeNet's core services, such as movies on demand. The company's participation in high-speed Internet access services, aided by its February 2007 acquisition of assets of StayOnline Inc., helps mitigate that risk somewhat.

LodgeNet is a provider of in-room electronic entertainment and data services to hotels and, to a lesser extent, hospitals and other guest-based businesses.

The company has a leading position in its market niche, good EBITDA margins in the mid-20% area, and relatively stable long-term noncancellable hotel property contracts.

(Steven R. Pofahl, senior vice president and general manager, Hospitality Operations, Lodge Net, bottom left photo)

The company's revenue and EBITDA decreased 5% and 3%, respectively, in the third quarter of 2008 year over year. Growth in Hotel Services and System sales partially offset the decline in Guest Entertainment revenue.

We expect the decline in Guest Entertainment revenue to continue as a result of lower hotel occupancy rates and continued consumer and business guest caution.
(Gary H. Ritondaro, senior vice president, chief financial officer, LodgeNet, bottom right photo)

Media Contact:
Mimi Barker, New York (1) 212.438.5054,

Analyst Contacts:
Jeanne Mathewson, CFA, Chicago (1) 312.233.7026
Tulip Lim, New York (1) 212.438.4061

Tilt-Con Starts Work on 326,230-SF Warehouse in Miami

ORLANDO, FL – Altamonte Springs-based Tilt-Con Corporation is under way on the new 326,230-square-foot Building 33 warehouse at Flagler Station Industrial Park in Miami, under its contract with Flagler Construction, Coral Gables.

Ranked as the nation’s largest tilt-up concrete constructor by Engineering News-Record magazine, Tilt-Con utilizes its economical system for tilt-up concrete walls.
Tilt-Con’s scope of work includes foundations, slab-on-grade, tilt-up concrete wall panels and walkways, and is slated for completion in April 2009. The project was designed by RLC Architects, Boca Raton.

Tilt-Con also announced that project manager Jeff Chalk has received the prestigious Green Advantage® certification from The Green Clean Institute, Inc., Plainfield, IL. The certification signifies expertise in green building principles, materials and techniques. Chalk has been at Tilt-Con for five years

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol 407-774-2515

S&P Report Forecasts Changes In Financial Markets As World Economy Falters

NEW YORK, NY--After the current global economic crisis subsides, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' economists envision a much chastened world with greater regional and global coordination in banking and securities oversight, and the reversal of a long trend of deregulation and privatization in the financial services sector.

Among the findings discussed in the report, "How Today's Turmoil Will Shape Tomorrow's Markets," are:

-- Risk aversion in the wake of declining valuations in the structured finance market, especially in the United States, will continue for the foreseeable future.

-- More coordination among regulators across national boundaries is inevitable.

-- As markets become more global, so will financial centers. We believe trading will be concentrated in more than one center, and three major focal points--in the U.S., Europe, and Asia--will foster 'round-the-clock trading.

-- Markets will become more dispersed, and secondary centers will become more important, but national financial capitals will remain essential for certain types of trading or for domestic companies.

-- Securitization will likely be revived, but only in the simplest forms--at least for a while.

"The players and the regulators are changing, but exactly how remains difficult to determine," said Standard & Poor's Chief Economist David Wyss.(top right photo)

"The trend toward globalization of financial markets will likely accelerate, in part because of capital injections from overseas investors into U.S. banks and financial institutions.

"The trend toward deregulation seems likely to reverse…We expect one result of the current turmoil to be a streamlining of the regulatory structure, even if the U.S. doesn't move to a single regulator as the U.K. has done," he continued.

"Moreover," adds Standard & Poor's Asia-Pacific Chief Economist Subir Gokarn, (bottom left photo) "the role of government in financial systems around the world will increase significantly, and conventional boundaries between the state and markets will be subject to challenge."

Across national boarders, our economists expect to see a re-intermediation of banking systems, especially in the U.S., where there has been more market debt than bank debt.

The European banking model of investment banking, we believe, appears to have won out as investment banks in the U.S. have been absorbed into other banks or have taken on quasi-bank status.
Media Contact:
Michael Privitera, New York (1) 212-438-6679,

Analyst Contacts:
David Wyss, New York (1) 212-438-4952
Subir V Gokarn, Mumbai (91) 11-4250-5113
Jean-Michel Six, Paris (33)-1-44-20-67-05

Shangri-La Hotel Plans Jan. 16 Debut in Wenzhou, China

HONG KONG--Shangri-La Hotel, Wenzhou, (top right photo) the first international luxury hotel in the city, will open on January 16, 2009.

To celebrate this occasion, the hotel is offering introductory rate through March 15, 2009 starting from RMB818 (about US$119) per night with breakfast, single or double occupancy.

Located on the south-east coast of China, between the two economic zones of the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas, Wenzhou is the economic, cultural and communications center of southern Zhejiang Province.

It has been a principal trading port in China since the Tang Dynasty. Shangri-La Hotel, Wenzhou is located in the center of the new development area of Wenzhou next to the International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The hotel is a 25-minute drive from Wenzhou Yongqiang Airport (middle right photo) and about an hour from the area’s major tourist attractions, Yandang Mountain and Nanxi River.

Each of the hotel’s 409 contemporary style guestrooms and suites will overlook the Oujiang River with its backdrop of mountain views and offer a minimum floor space of 42 square meters (452 square feet).

Shangri-La Hotel, Wenzhou will offer a variety of meeting and banquet facilities, including a 1,700-square-meter (18,300-square-foot) pillarless grand ballroom with a ceiling height of nine meters (30 feet).

A 456-square-meter (4,909-square-foot) junior ballroom and 11 function rooms of different sizes are also available.

All facilities will have state of the art audio-visual equipment and will be staffed by dedicated event specialists.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages 58 hotels under the Shangri-La and Traders brands with a rooms inventory of over 28,000.

Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services.

Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, mainland China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

The group has over 50 projects under development in Austria, Canada, mainland China, France, India, Japan, Macau, Maldives, Philippines, Qatar, Seychelles, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

For more information or reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at

Judy Reeves Public Relations Manager, North America Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Tel: (212) 382-3155. Fax: (212) 382-3329. E-mail:

Host Hotels Completes $40M Renovation at W New York

W Hotels Celebrates 10 Years of Industry Revolution and Design Innovation With Global Growth Plans to Triple the Brand’s Portfolio by 2011

NEW YORK, NY– W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster, celebrates 10 years of industry revolution and design innovation.

More than a hotel brand, W Hotels has established itself as an iconic lifestyle brand, offering guests unprecedented access to a world of “Wow” through fashion, nightlife, celebrities and entertainment.

With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels will triple its global footprint by 2011, with expansion into vibrant primary destinations around the world, from Dubai to Shanghai, Hong Kong to London, Hoboken to South Beach, and Athens to Barcelona.

The W brand marks this 10 year milestone with the completion of a $40 million renovation of W New York, the brand’s iconic first property. Since 1998, W New York has served as the W brand’s innovation lab, creating a unique mix of guest experiences that put W Hotels at the forefront of a new category in hospitality.

“Innovation has been central to the W brand since its inception,” said Eva Ziegler, (middle right photo) Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts.

“In just 10 years, W Hotels has evolved from a New York-centric concept to a worldwide phenomenon. In celebration of this milestone, we are proud to announce the completion of the renovation of W New York, W’s iconic first property.”

“Our renovated guestrooms are a celebration of the innovation, design and unique style W has led over the past 10 years,” said Edward Maynard, (top left photo) General Manager, W New York.
“In addition to celebrating our 10 year milestone as the first W Hotel to open its doors, we are excited to share the property’s sophisticated, contemporary and clever new design with our guests who will continue to enjoy our signature Whatever/Whenever promise in guestrooms that have been designed specifically to their travel needs.”


Hwee-Peng Yeo
Director, Corporate Communications
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts Ltd
9 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Tower 2
#24-02, Singapore 038989

Tel : +65 6335 4837; Cell : +65 9768 6087; +65 9248 0424
Fax : +65 6335 4820;