Tags: priceline | online | travel

Priceline Sales Tops Estimates After Global Expansion

Monday, 27 February 2012 06:11 PM

Priceline.com Inc., the biggest U.S. online travel agency by stock market value, reported fourth-quarter sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates after expanding into more countries and taking market share from rivals.

Sales climbed to $990.8 million last quarter, the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company said Monday in a statement. Analysts had estimated revenue of $973.3 million on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Net income rose to $225.7 million, or $4.41 a share, from $135.7 million, or $2.66, a year earlier.

Priceline has weathered the European debt crisis better than rivals Expedia Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide Inc. It’s also moved into emerging markets and new businesses such as car rentals. The number of countries Priceline serves has jumped more than 60 percent in the past year to more than 160.

“They’re seeing accelerating growth in Europe despite the macro issues that are in place,” said Mike Olson, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. in Minneapolis. He recommends buying the shares, which he doesn’t own personally. “They’re trying to position themselves for the continued offline to online transition in travel bookings in emerging markets.”

Priceline shares have surged more than eightfold since the end of 2008, including a 26 percent jump this year. The stock rose less than 1 percent to $591.54 at the close Monday.

Sales this quarter will rise 22 percent to 27 percent, Priceline said. Analysts had predicted a 25 percent gain to $1.02 billion.

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Monday, 27 February 2012 06:11 PM
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