Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ:PCLN), an online travel company, reported an increase in first quarter earnings on a 43.9% growth in gross travel bookings as well as strong hotel bookings. However, the company guided second quarter revenue growth below Street's view, sending its shares down 2.45% in aftermarket.
Earnings for the first quarter were $181.97 million or $3.54 per share, up from $104.79 million or $2.05 per share last year. Adjusted earnings rose to $220.86 million or $4.28 per share from $137.03 million or $2.66 per share.
Revenue grew to $1.04 billion from $809.32 million. Analysts had expected a profit of $3.95 per share on revenue of $1.04 billion.
Merchant revenue increased to $496.41 million from $454.80 million, while agency revenue grew to $537.63 million from $351.42 million. Other revenue rose to $3.21 million from $3.09 million.
First quarter gross travel bookings, which refers to the total dollar value, generally inclusive of all taxes and fees, of all travel services purchased by consumers, were $6.71 billion, an increase of 43.9% over last year.
International gross bookings increased 54% (58% on a local currency basis) to $5.45 billion, driven by strong hotel results at Booking.com and Agoda.com and continued growth at Rentalcars.com.
Hotel business booked 45.9 million room nights in the first quarter, 47% higher than last year. Rental sales grew 40.6% to 6.9 million car days, while Airline sales rose 4.9% to 1.6 million tickets.
Gross margin for the first quarter increased to 71.7% from 62.5%.
Looking ahead into the second quarter, the company expects adjusted earnings of $7.20 to $7.40 per share and revenue growth of about 18% to 23%, while Street predicts profit of $7.38 per share on revenue growth of 26.40%.
Gross margin is expected to be 31% to 36% for the second quarter. Adjusted EBITDA is predicted to be about $450 million to $470 million. The company anticipates gross travel bookings growth of about 26% to 31% and international gross bookings growth of about 32% to 37% (an increase of about 41% to 46% on a local currency basis).
PCLN closed Wednesday's regular session up 0.38% at $718.95. The stock has been trading between $411.26 and $774.96 for the past 52 weeks.