Plenty of Optimism at priceline - TheStreet

Plenty of Optimism at priceline

The company's shares climb 10% after its quarterly report.
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Priceline.com

(PCLN)

said second-quarter earnings were higher than a year ago and better than expected thanks to strong hotel and rental car sales and stabilization in its airline tickets business.

The company earned $7.7 million, or 20 cents a share, in the second quarter, on revenue of $239.6 million. Gross travel bookings -- the dollar value, including taxes and fees, of all travel products purchased by consumers -- totaled $297.1 million.

Priceline had forecast earnings of 12 cents to 18 cents a share for the quarter, and analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for a profit of 14 cents. The company also raised its guidance for the third quarter, and the results and outlook lifted priceline's stock after the close.

Shares of priceline were climbing $2.51, or 10%, to $27.75 in postmarket Instinet trading.

In the second quarter last year, priceline earned $6.3 million, or 16 cents a share, on revenue of $304.5 million.

The company ended the second quarter with $149.2 million in cash and short-term investments and no debt. During the quarter, priceline declared a 1-for-6 reverse stock split.

By the end of the second quarter, priceline's customer base reached 17.8 million, which represents growth of about 22% over the past year. Repeat business for the quarter was 67.1%. The company sold about 1.5 million hotel room nights in the second quarter, adding around 270,000 additional room nights from the first quarter. Hotel unit sales increased roughly 38% from last year.

Airline ticket gross bookings increased 16% from the first quarter, and the rental car business added more than 192,000 rental car days sequentially.

Priceline now expects July revenue of about $93 million to $95 million. Additionally, the company forecast revenue growth for the third quarter of about 5% from a year ago, with earnings of 20 cents to 22 cents a share. Analysts expect 15 cents.

For the fourth quarter, priceline is targeting year-over-year growth of 5% to 10% and earnings of 8 cents to 12 cents a share. Wall Street's consensus estimate is 7 cents a share.