Priceline Forecast Stifles Enthusiasm on Earnings

Online travel planning
Online travel planning Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN) reported first quarter 2013 results after markets closed today. The online travel and hotel reservation company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $5.76 per share on revenues of $1.3 billion. For the first quarter of 2012 the company posted earnings per share of $4.28 on revenues of $1.04 billion. First-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $5.27 a share and $1.28 billion in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, Priceline posted EPS $4.76 a share, which excludes an adjustment of $215,000 for unvested restricted stock units and performance units.

The company's CEO said:

"International gross bookings growth of 43% in the 1st quarter reflects continued strong performance of our international brands around the world. … We continue to see economic uncertainty in certain regions, and competition in the online travel sector remains intense. We are encouraged by the solid growth our businesses are delivering globally and will continue our investments in people, marketing, geographic expansion, content and innovation to lay the foundation for future growth

Priceline is "targeting" second quarter revenues about 15% to 22% above those in the same quarter last year and expects adjusted EPS in the range of $8.87 to $9.45. The consensus estimates for the second quarter call for EPS of $9.58 and revenues of $1.64 billion. Priceline's high-end revenue estimate is $1.62 billion.

The company said that concerns about sovereign debt and the viability of the euro "have negatively impacted historical operating results and may impact future results." priceline noted that "the variability around its guidance is elevated" due to uncertain global economic conditions."

Needless to say, shares are down about 3% in after-hours trading, at $737.50 in a 52-week range of $553.42 to $745.24. Thomson Reuters had a consensus target price for the shares at around $826.60 before today's report.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Business Services, Earnings, Services Tagged: PCLN