Priceline.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN), the online travel agent, said first quarter profit rose 74 percent percent as more customers used its airline and hotel booking services internationally. But shares dropped on a revenue forecast that was below expectations.
Norwalk, Conn.-based Priceline reported gross profit of $743 million, a 47 percent increase from the prior year. Revenue increased 29 percent to $1.04 billion, matching a forecast by analysts polled by Reuters. The company reported earnings per share excluding one-time items of $4.28, up from $2.66 from a year ago and above a Reuters forecast of $3.95.
Priceline's hotel business booked 46 million room nights during the quarter, up 47 percent from a year ago..
We believe our international hotel businesses are well positioned for the peak travel season, with over 210,000 hotels at Booking.com and continuing website innovation and new product offerings, including a growing complement of mobile offerings, said CEO Jeffery Boyd. The Group continues its investment in building content for our customers and attractive new offerings to support future growth.
To be sure, Priceline the company issued guidance for the second quarter that was below forecasts, which dampened the company's stock in after-market trading. Earnings per share will range between $7.20 and $7.40, within the analyst consensus of $7.37. Revenue wil increase between 18 percent and 23 percent, below a consensus of 26 percent growth to $1.39 billion.
Priceline's shares fell 3 percent to $696.50 after the results were announced. In regular trading, they rose $2.75 to $718.95.