Priceline quarterly earnings beat estimates as bookings increase

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Priceline shares ticked up on Monday after its quarterly profits topped Wall Street’s expectations, which it attributed to a steady increase in the number of travel bookings on its website.

For the three-month period ending December 31, the company reported $2.3bn in revenue, in line with the forecast from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Its earnings per share came in at $13.47, versus expectations of $12.11 — a 35 per cent increase year-over-year, according to the company.

Net income for the quarter was $674m, a 34 per cent boost from the same period a year earlier and more than the $605.25 that analysts expected.

Overall travel bookings for the quarter were valued at $15.1bn, a 26 per cent increase year-over-year, the company said.

Chief executive Glenn Fogel said in a statement that the final quarter of fiscal 2016 was a strong one, thanks to “accelerating growth in hotel room nights booked, with solid organic growth and attractive profit margins.”

For the coming year, the company said it hopes to increase its supply base in order to give customers a wider range of hotels and other travel options for booking. For the first quarter of fiscal 2017, it said it expects gross profits to improve between 9 and 14.5 per cent, and net income per diluted share in a range of $7.50-$7.90.

Priceline’s shares rose quickly in after-hours trading following its earnings beat, before paring some gains to trade up 0.8 per cent at pixel time. Like others in the digital travel booking space, it is benefiting from the increasing number of consumers who like to plan their travel online, while facing an increasing number of competitors jostling to be travelers’ go-to site. Over the 12 months, Priceline shares have gone up 29 per cent.

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