(Updates shares, adds analyst comment)
May 8 Travel website owner Priceline Group Inc
reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit on
Thursday as it booked more hotel stays, car rentals and airline
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
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)