Expedia (EXPE)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 29, 2010 5:00 pm ET


Alan Pickerill - Director, Investor Relations

Michael Adler - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Dara Khosrowshahi - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director, Member of Preferred Stock Subcommittee and Member of Executive Committee


Sandeep Aggarwal - Caris & Company

Michael Millman - Millman Research Associates

Kevin Crissey - UBS Investment Bank

Ingrid Chung - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Ross Sandler - RBC Capital Markets Corporation

Aaron Kessler - ThinkEquity LLC

Douglas Anmuth - Barclays Capital

Justin Post - BofA Merrill Lynch

Herman Leung - Deutsche Bank AG

Scott Kessler - S&P Equity Research

Mark Mahaney - Citigroup Inc



Welcome to the Expedia, Inc. Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] And I would now like turn the conference over to Alan Pickerill. Please go ahead, sir.

Alan Pickerill

Good afternoon, and welcome to Expedia, Inc.'s Financial Results Conference Call for the Second Quarter Ended June 30, 2010.

I'm pleased to be joined on the call today by Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia's Chief Executive Officer and President; and Michael Adler, our Chief Financial Officer.

The following discussion, including responses to your questions, reflects management's views as of today, July 29, 2010, only. We do not undertake any obligation to update or revise this information.

As always, some of the statements made on today's call are forward-looking, typically preceded by words such as we expect, we believe, we anticipate or similar statements. Please refer to today's press release and the company's filings with the SEC for information about factors which could cause our actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements.

You’ll find reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to the most comparable GAAP measures discussed today in our earnings release, which is posted on the company's IR website at expediainc.com/ir. I encourage you to periodically visit our IR site for important content, including today's earnings release and our updated investor presentation.

Finally, unless otherwise stated, all references to cost of revenue, selling and marketing expense, general and administrative expense, and technology and content expense, excludes stock-based compensation. And all comparisons in this call will be against our results for the comparable period of 2009.

And with that, let me turn the call over to Dara.

Dara Khosrowshahi

Thanks, Alan, and thanks to everyone for making time to join us this afternoon. We delivered a solid quarter here in Q2, especially given some of the headwinds that we faced. Obviously, the volcano and foreign exchange trends worked against us, as did sharply rising airfares. Although it's difficult to measure the precise impact economic uncertainty, air carrier strikes and the oil spill in the Gulf certainly didn't help the travel business.

Given this backdrop, we're satisfied with our transaction growth of 10%, operating income before amortization growth of 3% and adjusted earnings per share growth of 16%.

And briefly on the trends for the quarter. On a transactional side, room night growth in the Americas and Europe slowed as expected as we lapped fee cuts from last year and as our European point of sales faced foreign exchange-, volcano- and economic-related headwinds. We estimate that the cancellations related to the volcano cost us roughly 200 basis points of worldwide room night growth.

We also saw significant slowdown in growth rates for transatlantic travel in the quarter. We suspect primarily caused by foreign exchange fluctuations and higher airfares, which also contributed to the overall de-acceleration for the quarter. And remember that room night comps were simply more difficult in Q2, because we saw a real acceleration in last year's second quarter. Compared to 2008, room night growth in Q2 was 41% compared to 33% in Q1.

Room night growth in Asia-Pacific and Latin America markets was very strong and accelerated from Q1, a good trend in markets with enormous potential for us. As far as the shape of the quarter goes, the year-over-year room night growth was weakest in April due in part to the volcano, with momentum building through June. July trends are solid and while very early, it does give us some confidence relative to the balance of the year expectations.

Our TripAdvisor Media Group continues its incredibly strong performance with a revenue and operating income before amortization growth accelerating from Q1, growing year-over-year at 39% and 40% respectively.

Fueled by strong growth in traffic and clicks, both on a domestic and international basis. We were able to grow profits at a robust pace while investing aggressively in new geographies, as well as new products, such as Business Listings, with now over 15,000 properties, [indiscernible] down Kuxon in China, air meta search in the U.S. and U.K. and our vacation rentals product now augmented by our acquisition of Holiday Lettings in the U.K.

Finally, we're very excited about TripAdvisor's integration with Facebook through the launch of Trip friends which brings together our over 35 million TripAdvisor reviews and opinions with our Cities I’ve Visited in applications on Facebook with over 19 million users.

We brought the wisdom of the masses to your travel planning and now we want to bring them with some of your friends to your desktop. We have a unique asset and a great team at TripAdvisor and are quite optimistic about what the next few years will bring.

And lastly, on capital allocation. We continue to have confidence in our ability to grow the business while also returning cash to our shareholders. So far in 2010, we've returned almost $230 million to our shareholders through our share repurchases and dividends and it's our expedition that we’ll continue to do so over the next few years. And as we've said before, we'd be comfortable with gross debt at 2x to 3x EBITDA, consistent with an investment-grade rating and will consider raising additional debt if the terms and conditions are right. Now to Mike.

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