Sabres Chairman and CEO Comments On Sabre’s Prospects

Sabre is doing a little rattling this week. Sabre is the maker of the number one computerized travel reservation system. The company will meet with analysts tomorrow to talk about business and where the company is going. The stock has been stuck in the $30 a share range since May. Right now it is up $1.50 at 33 1/2.


William Hannigan is Sabre’s chairman and CEO and this is what he will be saying to financial analysts:
“We will talk about a lot of things. Certainly that we lead in all channels of distribution. We are on the right trajectory. Earlier this year we grew at 3.5%. Last quarter, 8%. And this quarter we will be back in double-digits for the first time in seven quarters.


In many cases, 40% of the world’s transactions, 40% of the world’s travel is transacted through Sabre. We also have a customer facing side with our Travelocity company, which is number one in leisure online travel, growing at 200%. And also corporate online, we closed our acquisition of GetThere two weeks ago. We now have 70% of that marketplace. It is growing at over 300% on an annual basis.


Bookings are up 5% for the year. Most importantly, when you think about travel and you think about Sabre, we are kind of hedge in the world’s largest industry. Because irrespective of what is going from a pricing perspective, and load perspective, the airlines, and rail companies, and car companies want to fill their seats and we get paid on a per-transaction basis, irrespective of the price.


Outsourcing is an important business. We continue to improve the margins year-over-year. It is about 35% of our revenue stream. I don’t comment on rumours. There are lots of rumours when you are the leader. And frankly, we barely have enough time to talk about all of the things we have completed in the last year and that will be completed in the next year.

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We have terrific cash flows, but we did increase our debt by 600 million to take on GetThere. But the key there was, first of all, the only place where there could have been a debate as to who was the leader in travel distribution was on the corporate on-line side. One and two was Sabre BTS and GetThere. The combination of our two of the companies, again, we have over 70% share, and that is real important to our growth, 300% year-over-year in that sector and three basis points of growth for 2001 over 2000, which puts us nicely into the high teens on a year-over-year perspective. Since we were spun out of AMR, the goals are more clearly defined for all our colleagues at Sabre. But certainly, American Airlines, who was our parent company, is an important customer for us. It has been for a long time, will be going forward. And that continues to be important. The point I want to make is that in our travel marketing and distribution business, we set an all-time record last quarter. We grew at almost 20%, three to four times the nearest competitor.”


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