Priceline 4Q Smashes Street, Shares Rally

By Retail FOXBusiness

Travel-booking website Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) saw its shares soar nearly 6% in late trading Monday, as the company posted fourth-quarter result that were well ahead of estimates.

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In what is a positive indicator for the company, and for the hospitality industry, gross travel bookings rose 51.8% to $4.96 billion.

Priceline weighed in with fourth-quarter net income of $225.7 million, or $4.41 a share, compared with year-ago earnings of $135.7 million, or $2.66 a share.  On an adjusted basis, the company reported earnings of $5.37 a share, compared with $3.40 a share, one year ago.

Revenue rose 35.5% to $990.8 million, up from year-ago revenue of $731.3 million.
The results smashed expectations, as the Street had predicted earnings of $5.05 a share on revenue of $967.91 million, according to an analyst poll by Thomson Reuters.

The online travel company forecast first-quarter results in the range of $3.80 to $3.90 a share, well above the Street’s expectation for $3.72 a share. The company predicts gross travel bookings to rise between 33% and 38% in the fiscal first quarter.  

Domestic gross travel bookings are expected to tick up 10%, as international booking should rise between 41% and 46%, the company said.

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Priceline boasted that room night reservations rose 53% during the fourth quarter, compared with 47% in the third quarter.

“We believe that each of our brands, Booking.com, Agoda and priceline.com, gained share in the retail hotel room reservations market, while our Name Your Own Price hotel business in the United States continued to be impacted by increased competition in the discount market,” said Jeffery H. Boyd, president and chief executive of Priceline, in a release.

Boyd went on to say that Priceline is experiencing “strong growth” in Asia and other emerging markets, and plans to continue to invest in global accommodations and hotels despite the fact that “macroeconomic concerns persist.”

Shares of Priceline rose slightly, up $1.13 in the regular session on Monday, closing the day at $592.63.  The stock was up another $34.42, or 5.8%, in after-hours trading following the announcement of results.

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