Monday, May 11, 2009

Priceline.com (PCLN) Continues to Execute Well

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I've never owned Priceline.com (PCLN) but have been admiring the company from afar - in very difficult conditions they seem to constantly execute operationally even if the stock price fluctuates wildly at times. Much like First Solar (FSLR) in their respective base, Priceline.com always seems to trounce the data reported from competition (Expedia - EXPE, Orbitz - OWW). Every quarter I write an entry about how the company does well, and then I never end up buying... will need to get this name into the portfolio sooner or later. I continue to believe its business model works favorably for the weak consumer. At 17x forward estimates it is far cheaper (by half in some cases) than many names people are fleeing into rabidly, and it's actually growing unlike many of those stocks.

Full report here.

AP summary
  • Priceline.com Inc. said Monday that its profit surged 81 percent in the first quarter on improved gross travel bookings. For the period ended March 31, net income available to common stockholders climbed to $25 million, or 53 cents per share. That's up from $13.8 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding depreciation and amortization expense and other items, earnings were $1.09 per share. (I hate always referring to earnings excluding items but this is the Wall Street game)
  • Revenue rose 15 percent to $462.1 million from $403.2 million as both merchant and agency revenue increased. Analysts forecast earnings of 91 cents per share on revenue of $440.8 million, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.
  • Gross travel bookings, or the total amount paid by customers for travel services including fees and taxes, climbed 10.5 percent to $1.9 billion.
  • Gross margin edged up to 45.1% from 44.9%.
  • Priceline.com also said it was able to gain market share during the quarter, despite the recession weakening demand and pricing.
  • But the online travel retailer was hesitant to give a forecast for the rest of the year, saying the recession and the swine flu outbreak are likely to hurt travel demand. (doesn't matter, the market has already spoken - V shaped recovery coming) Still, the company provided guidance for the second quarter. For the second quarter, Priceline.com anticipates adjusted earnings of $1.65 to $1.75 per share. Analysts expect profit of $1.65 per share.
[Feb 19, 2009: Priceline.com Impresses on Earnings]
[Aug 6, 2008: Priceline.com - Down 17% on Good Earnings?]
[May 8, 2008: 2 Earnings Reports of Note: AIG (AIG) and Priceline (PCLN)]

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