Hilton Worldwide outscored stiff competition from global corporations to win the Association for Financial Professionals 2015 Pinnacle Grand Prize that recognizes excellence in treasury and finance. Sponsored by Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), the Pinnacle Grand Prize was awarded Sunday at the Opening General Session of the AFP Annual Conference in Denver.
Hilton Worldwide’s entry was based on its $13-billion debt refinancing and $2.3-billion IPO, the largest ever in the hospitality industry. In anticipation of these two events, Hilton Worldwide needed to improve its liquidity forecasting capabilities, and it succeeded by transforming a static view of multiple business units and regional forecasts into an agile, simplified liquidity forecast. As a result, Hilton has made significant progress towards achieving investment grade status by using nearly all its free cash flow to repay $1.5-billion in post-IPO debt. In the process, its credit ratings improved and it saw an $8.8-billion increase (45 percent) in its market capitalization.
Wells Fargo donated $10,000 to Hilton Worldwide’s charity of choice, International Youth Foundation, whose mission is to lead and sustain coordinated action to harness the talent and potential of the world’s youth. Danny Peltz, executive vice president and head of Treasury Management for Wells Fargo, and Jim Kaitz, AFP President & CEO, hosted the award ceremony in Denver.
“Large international organizations often face challenges in developing simplified, timely liquidity forecasts,” Peltz said. “Hilton Worldwide’s approach to liquidity forecasting freed up significant amounts of cash and delivered tangible business results, providing a great example of how a treasury team can deliver benefits enterprise-wide through strategic treasury management.”
Hilton Worldwide was one of three finalists—including Covidien and Dow Corning. All three Pinnacle finalists were selected because their innovative solutions helped their treasury and finance operations run more effectively.
“AFP is extremely proud to honor Hilton Worldwide,” Kaitz said. “Hilton Worldwide’s solution was innovative, forward-looking, and offered the kind of strategic treasury and finance initiative that should inspire its peers.”