Priceline Reports 1Q 2003 Financial Results

Priceline.com today reported a 1st quarter 2003 GAAP net loss of $8.0 million, or $0.04 per share, on revenues of $200.5 million.


The Company stated that 1st quarter results were primarily driven by record hotel sales, improved gross margins, expense management and improved results in its packages, retail and rental car businesses.


By comparison, in the 1st quarter 2002, priceline.com had revenues of $261.9 million and GAAP net income of $3.9 million, or $0.02 per share.


In the 1st quarter 2003, priceline reported gross bookings of $248 million, compared to $307 million a year ago. Priceline.com ended the quarter with nearly $140 million in cash and short-term investments. The Company has no debt.


“We are pleased to report a record quarter for priceline.com`s hotel service,” said priceline.com President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffery H. Boyd. “Supported by a major advertising campaign, our hotel service sold 1.2 million room nights during the quarter, with hotel revenues increasing approximately 37 percent year over year and 30 percent sequentially. We believe that this increased growth is due to the fact that more leisure travelers are trying us and they see that priceline.com`s hotel service delivers top-of-the-line hotel quality at savings that are up to 40 percent greater than those found on Expedia, Hotels.com and Travelocity.”
Mr. Boyd continued, “Our retail travel business, including the Lowestfare.com brand which we acquired last year, contributed $21 million in gross bookings this quarter, which is up $17 million over last year`s 1st quarter and represents a 103 percent sequential increase. Improved margins in our opaque travel products and growth in contribution from retail sales resulted in a gross margin of 16.5 percent for the 1st quarter 2003, compared to 15.5 percent in the 4th quarter 2002 and 16 percent in the 1st quarter 2002. In total, despite the negative impact of the Iraq war on the nation`s airlines and the broader travel industry, we are pleased that priceline.com still was able to deliver 1st quarter results that were comfortably within our pre-war guidance.”
Priceline expect a profitable 2nd quarter driven primarily by strong hotel revenues (up 35 percent year-over-year in April), as well as results from packages, rental car and retail products. The Company said that unrest in the Middle East, threats of terrorism and the outbreak of SARS continue to make forecasting a challenge and that adverse developments could affect actual results.
Related stories on ITN:

(24/04/2003) Priceline.com Names New Board Members
(21/03/2003) Priceline Renews Partnership with Marriott
(19/03/2003) Priceline & Travelweb Form Hotel Distribution Agreement
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