BEVERLY HILLS, CA-Hilton Hotels Corp. more than doubled its earnings in the third quarter of this year compared with last year, attributing the results in part to growth in revenue per available room and a $15.6 million reduction in the provision for income taxes.

The company earned $48 million in the third quarter, or 3 cents per share, compared with $21 million in last year’s third quarter, or 6 cents per share. The company reported 2002 third quarter revenue of $934 million, compared with $942 million in the 2001 period.

Factors contributing to the higher earnings, the company said, included growth in revenue-per-available-room driven by high occupancy levels at most of the company’s owned city-center properties, market share increases for all Hilton brands, a decline in interest expense, and the reduced income tax provision.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and non-cash items totaled $224 million, compared with $237 million in the 2001 quarter.

In early afternoon trading Wednesday, Hilton’s stock stood at $11.72, down $0.28 for the day and well below its 52-week high of $17.09, achieved in April.

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