Analysts were in fro $3.09 but the company was able to beat that by 31 cents. They also guided up for the next year.
- Priceline late Wednesday reported Q4 profit that shattered analyst views, but sales just missed as airline ticket revenue slipped. Still, the name-your-price online travel site guided profit and sales above analyst views for the current quarter.
- The Norwalk, Conn.-based company said it earned $3.40 a share minus special items last quarter, up 71% from the year-ago quarter. That beat by 31 cents the estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. In Q3, Priceline beat by 36 cents.
- Sales surged 35% to $731 million, but still missed analyst expectations for $734.9 million.
- Gross bookings, the value of all travel services bought by customers, jumped 44.2% to $3.26 billion in Q4, led by a 64.9% surge in international gross travel bookings. Domestic bookings rose 8.5%.
- Hotel room nights booked surged 50.6% worldwide, but airline ticket bookings fell 2.3%.
- Gross margin came in at 65.4%, up from 57.8% a year earlier.
- "This company continues to execute," said Standard & Poor's equity analyst Scott Kessler. "Priceline has demonstrated time and again that they are the best operator in (online travel)."
- "Their growth strategy in Europe is working for them better than anyone else in the industry," said Morningstar analyst Warren Miller.
- For the current quarter, the company sees revenue in a range of $753 million to $782 million, and EPS in a range of $2.34 to $2.44. Analysts have been modeling $742 million in revenue and EPS of $2.30.
- Boyd said he expects "some deceleration" in Priceline's international growth "due to the sheer size of the (online) travel business" and hard-to-beat comparisons as the world economy recovers.
- Analysts say Priceline's risks in 2011 include whatever impact Middle East tensions will have on travel and fuel costs.
[Feb 23, 2010: IBD - Could Priceline.com and Expedia Hit Headwinds?]
[Feb 18, 2010: Priceline.com - Another Stellar Earnings Report]
[Nov 10, 2009: Priceline.com Hits an Earnings Home Run]
[Aug 10, 2009: Priceline.com - Recession Recsmession! Continued Impressive Results]
[May 14, 2009: Priceline.com in Investors Business Daily]
[May 11, 2009: Priceline.com Continues to Execute Well]
[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)]