Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ctrip.com (CTRP) Continues to Impress

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We just have an avalanche of earnings to go through today - going to be busy. Ctrip.com (CTRP), is a Chinese online travel company I've been trading for many years; this is one stock I should of just bought and hold as it's been a tremendous asset for shareholders. Further, it is probably among the most reliable stocks I've ever encountered. I always think "this is the quarter they will say something that speculators will hate and drive it down 40% for no good reason" but they chug along, consistently year after year. I continue to be amazed how a competitor of Ctrip's, eLong (LONG) constantly screws up, while Ctrip.com executes. Since eLong announces first most quarters, it always plants a seed of doubt in my mind, but then Ctrip comes along and says "we're #1". It is just sort of funny to watch, as it has been going on for years - this is again a case where a rising tide would theoretically lift all boats, but does not.

I don't have a major position at the time, and the stock was acting very poorly yesterday ahead of earnings which made me more suspicious that something bad was leaking out, but once again, they do come through with solid earnings. Frankly, they's gotten the Wall Street (short sighted focus on 90 days at a time) game down to a tee, and a lot of other Chinese companies could learn from them - under promise each quarter, and over deliver. And they always deliver. Constantly confounding doubters. And even anxious longs (myself included)
  • China's top online travel agent, Ctrip.com International Ltd (CTRP), said quarterly net profit doubled, beating expectations due to higher bookings and pushing its share price up in after-hours trade.
  • Ctrip.com, which is benefiting as a wealthier and expanding Chinese middle class spends more on travel, said it is growing faster than its competitors.

  • "We did increase market share in 2007," Chief Executive Min Fan told analysts on a conference call.

  • For full-year 2008, Ctrip said it expects to continue year-on-year net revenue growth of around 35 percent.

  • Shanghai-based Ctrip said fourth-quarter earnings doubled to $18.6 million, or 27 cents per American Depositary Share, easily beating the $14.8 million profit analysts had forecast.

  • Fourth-quarter net revenue rose 58 percent to $49 million, as hotel reservations, flight bookings and package tours all posted strong growth, the company said.

  • Ctrip had forecast year-on-year net revenue growth of about 35 percent for the fourth quarter, but the firm has a history of publishing conservative forecasts.

  • Full-year 2007 profit rose 66 percent to $55 million.

  • The stock has gained more than 80 percent in the past 12 months, while domestic rival eLong Inc (LONG), majority-owned by U.S. online travel company Expedia Inc (EXPE), has lost more than a quarter of its share value.

  • To help meet rising demand, Ctrip plans to spend $40-$50 million on a second call centre near Shanghai, to complement the 3,500 employees at its first centre.

Long Ctrip.com in fund; no personal position



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