Priceline reports solid results

Priceline.com is reporting a 29% year-over-year rise in gross travel bookings to $536.8 million for the 4th quarter and full-year 2005. Revenues in the 4th quarter were $203.9 million, a 4.6% increase over a year ago. 2005 results include the operating results of Active Hotels Ltd., which was acquired in September 2004, and Bookings B.V., which was acquired in July 2005.

Pro forma net income for the 4th quarter 2005 was $11.4 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, which was at the high end of priceline.com’s guidance and exceeded First Call analyst consensus of $0.27 per diluted share and represents an increase of 29% over the prior year quarter.


For full-year 2005, priceline.com reported gross travel bookings of $2.2 billion, a 32% increase over full-year 2004. Full-year 2005 revenues were $962.7 million versus $914.4 million a year ago.

“With gross travel bookings up 29% year-over-year and pro forma net income at the high end of our guidance range, the 4th quarter 2005 was a solid quarter for priceline.com,” said priceline.com President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffery H. Boyd.

“We were particularly pleased with results from Priceline Europe, where 4th quarter gross travel bookings of $158 million represented an organic growth rate of 88% compared to the same quarter in the prior year (which assumes ownership of Bookings B.V. during the entire period), which we believe is roughly twice that of our major European competitors.”

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With the combination of Active Hotels Ltd. and Bookings B.V., Priceline Europe’s online hotel reservation services now cover 40 countries with approximately 20,000 participating hotels.

 

Earlier this year, priceline.com launched an enhanced U.S. website that gives customers More Ways To Save(SM) than any other major online travel service.

 

Mr. Boyd added, “We intend to continue to build out Priceline Europe, which we believe is one of the largest and fastest growing online hotel reservation services in Europe. We also intend to explore ways to make priceline.com’s global collection of travel services available to customers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“We expect that the first quarter of 2006 will include an increase of over $10 million compared to the first quarter 2005 in global online marketing expense in support of our retail hotel business”.
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