Priceline Profit Up on Stronger Travel Bookings

Features Reuters

Priceline.com said its quarterly profit rose as the value of its bookings increased by 56.2 percent.

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The online travel agency said its third-quarter profit was $469 million, or $9.17 per share, compared with $223 million, or $4.41 per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, Priceline reported a profit of $9.95 per share, beating a consensus forecast of $9.30 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Priceline shares gained 0.8 percent to $513 in after-market trading.

The company reported revenue of $1.45 billion, up 45 percent from a year ago and topping a Wall Street forecast for $1.42 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The value of bookings at Priceline was $6.3 billion, an increase of 56.2 percent over a year ago.

Priceline Chief Executive Jeffery Boyd linked the bookings growth to strength in the international hotel business.

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``We're benefiting from a couple of things,'' Boyd told Reuters. ``It's really the growth of Internet commerce in a lot of our newer markets.''

He noted especially strong growth in Asian and South American markets.

Priceline predicted fourth-quarter earnings of $4.90 to $5.00 per share, which is below analysts' average forecast for $5.13.

Priceline, which runs Booking.com, Agoda.com and TravelJigsaw in addition to its namesake website, predicted a year-over-year increase in travel bookings of 39 percent to 44 percent for the fourth quarter.

Last month, rival Expedia Inc reported better-than-expected earnings, but missed the Wall Street revenue forecast. The company's domestic bookings growth declined sharply. (Reporting by Kyle Peterson, editing by Bernard Orr)

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