Orbitz World Wide (NYSE:OWW) announced third-quarter earnings of 11 cents per share on revenues of $202.92 million, handily beating analyst consensus estimates that had expected the company to report earnings of 6 cents per share on revenues of $198.32 million. The company also raised its total year revenue prediction to a range of between $760 and $764 million, from previous estimates of between $752 and $762 million.
In spite of facing a collapse in interest within the domestic market, having to deal with cross-marketing limits imposed by the airlines and booking less flights and hotels overall, the $202.92 net revenue figure represented a jump of 4.34% from quarterly net revenue a year ago. The company's net earnings, however, were down 26.73 percent to $11.23 million from a year ago, as a substantial spike in marketing costs, payroll and Other Expenses ate into the bottom line.
Our financial results exceeded the top end of our guidance range during a challenging period in which we have been making major technology and product investments throughout our business, said Barney Harford, CEO of Orbitz World Wide.
What those major investments were was not totally clear from the financial filings released Thursday. Marketing expenses grew by 8.07 percent and payroll increased marginally. Most of the overhead growth, however, came from foreign currency losses, an increase in legal costs as well as higher bad debt expense, audit fees and travel expense that padded the company's Other Expenses category by $7.48 million, when compared to last year.
Most of the revenue growth, on the other hand came from the higher average prices at which a reduced number of online bookers snapped up hotel rooms, flights and car rentals.
The overall online leisure booking industry has faced a particularly tough season, underperforming the market since the putative late-summer correction. From August 9, when the market reached a nadir, the NASDAQ-100 benchmark index of technology companies is up 12.51 percent. Market leader Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE), a NASDAQ-100 component, is up 3.70 percent for the period. All other competitors are down for the time frame: priceline.com Incorporated (NASDAQ:PCLN) is down 2.25 percent, Ctrip.com Intl, Ltd. (NASDAQ:CTRIP) has lost 1.24 percent. Orbitz itself is down a substantial 18.44 percent.
Shares of Orbitz tend to be more volatile than those of its competitors. Orbitz's beta, a pricing metric that uses regression analysis to measure how share prices respond to market fluctuations, is 2.17. That figure, considerably more elevated than that of its competitors, suggests Orbitz's stock responds to a drop of 1% in the wider valuation of the stock market with a corresponding drop of over 2.17%
Shares of Orbitz World Wide were selling for $2.19 during early morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, up 29 cents, or 15.53% from the previous day's close.