UPDATE 2-Priceline 2nd-qtr profit tops estimates

Thu May 8, 2014 9:05pm IST

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(Updates shares, adds analyst comment)

May 8 (Reuters) - Travel website owner Priceline Group Inc reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as it booked more hotel stays, car rentals and airline tickets.

Priceline is "executing well," said Dan Kurnos, an analyst with Benchmark Co. Its shares rose 1.3 percent.

The company, which owns Booking.com and Kayak.com as well as the namesake website, also forecast second-quarter profit below estimates, saying a decline in its "name-your-own-price" segment would hurt revenue growth.

Priceline said it would boost advertising spending in the second quarter, having deferred some investment from the first period because of severe winter in North America.

Net income jumped to $331.2 million, or $6.25 per share, in the first quarter, from $244.2 million, or $4.76 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Priceline earned $7.81 per share, compared with $6.92 expected by analysts, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quarterly revenue rose 26 percent to $1.64 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $6.92 per share on revenue of $1.63 billion.

Profit was aided by growth in newer markets such as Asia-Pacific, South America and Eastern Europe, the company said. Gross bookings, or the total dollar value of travel services purchased, rose 34 percent to $12.3 billion.

Priceline, which competes with Expedia Inc and Orbitz Worldwide Inc, forecast adjusted profit of $11.22 to $12.02 per share for the second quarter. (r.reuters.com/vyn29v)

It targeted revenue to rise 19 percent to 29 percent in the period, which translates into $2 billion-$2.17 billion. The company said the name-your-own-price business for hotel, air and car services had weakened in part due to the limited availability of discounted rates.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $12.27 per share on revenue of $2.11 billion for the second quarter.

Shares of Priceline rose $15.20 to $1,146.94 on Thursday. The stock has gained about 57 percent in the past year. (Reporting by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore and Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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