Expedia Gains on Strong Q2

Online travel site Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) rose US$1.31 to $18.00 early Tuesday after beating analyst estimates for the second quarter ended December 31st.

The Bellevue, Washington-based company, which is backed by Microsoft, said revenue for the quarter rose 81 percent to $80 million, after adjusting for acquisitions.

Expedia president and chief executive officer Richard Barton said the company was able to get more business as it improved its shopping tools.

“Ongoing product enhancements to flights, lodging and cruises have driven a significant improvement” in customer growth, Barton said.

A new pricing system and a service that allows customers to build their own flight and lodging packages were introduced during the quarter, he added. Expedia said it expects the new pricing system to continue to boost results in future quarters.

Expedia beat analyst estimates by posting a loss before stock-based compensation costs and amortization of goodwill and intangibles of $2.6 million, or 6 cents per share, compared to a loss of $10.3 million, or 26 cents, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts had expected a loss before items of 16 cents per share.

Gross travel bookings rose 90 percent from the year-earlier quarter to $475 million, while agency revenue climbed 95 percent to $24 million.

The net loss, meanwhile, narrowed to $25.3 million, or 53 cents per share, from $43.0 million, or $1.07, a year earlier.

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