The Priceline Group Inc Plunges On Weak Guidance Despite EPS Beat

The Priceline Group released its latest earnings report before opening bell this morning, posting adjusted earnings of $10.54 per share, against the consensus of $9.64 per share, on revenue of $2.15 billion, against the consensus of $2.12 billion. In last year’s first quarter, the online travel booking company posted revenue of $1.84 billion.

Priceline reports strong first quarter growth

Reported earnings rose from $6.36 per share last year to $7.47 per share, or $374 million, in this year’s first quarter, while gross profits increased 21% to $2 billion. Agency revenues increased from $1.2 billion last year to 1.5 billion this year, which beat the consensus estimate of $1.45 billion, while Merchant revenues declined from $494.7 million to $470 million. Advertising and other revenues increased from $146.7 million to $178.1 million. Gross travel bookings increased 21%, net of cancellations, year over year to $16.7 billion. Adjusted EBITDA increased 27% year over ear to $676 million.

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“The Priceline Group delivered strong top line growth and attractive margins in the first quarter,” Priceline Chairman and Interim CEO Jeffery H. Boyd said in a statement. “Growth in room night reservations of 31% reflects continued solid execution in the market for global travel.” Looking forward, Mr. Boyd said, “The Group is looking forward to continued investments in product, service and branding that will drive long-term growth for our leading brands.”

Priceline’s guidance disappoints

Priceline expects second quarter earnings of $11.60 to $12.50 per share, which is significantly lower than the consensus of $14.96 per share. The company is targeting a 15% to 22% increase in room nights booked and an 11% to 18% increase in total gross travel bookings for the second quarter. Management expects revenue to increase by 7% to 14% and gross profit to improve by 9% to 16%. They’re looking for adjusted EBITDA of about $740 million to $795 million and non-GAAP earnings of $11.60 to $12.50 per share.

Shares of Priceline tumbled in premarket trading following this morning’s print. The stock declined by as much as 11.97% to $162.15.