Expedia shares fall on larger-than-expected loss, delta-variant uncertainty2 min read

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Expedia Group Inc.’s second-quarter gross bookings rose nearly eight-fold year over year and revenue more than tripled as travel rebounded, but it posted a bigger loss than expected and the company on Thursday pointed to continued uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Executive Peter Kern said on the company’s earnings call that domestic travel was strong, but that international, corporate and “even big-city travel has been relatively muted.” In a statement, he urged other companies to support global vaccine distribution.

“Unfortunately, the road to full travel recovery remains bumpy until more of the world is vaccinated,” he said. Kern said on the call that the delta variant has already started to affect business, with some cancellations and volatility in July.

The online-travel company’s shares fell nearly 5% after hours, after rising more than 5.5% in the regular session to close at $161.69. 

Expedia reported a second-quarter loss of $301 million, or $2.02 a share, compared with $753 million, or $5.34 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding stock-based compensation and other costs, adjusted loss was $169 million, or $1.13 a share. Revenue increased 273% to $2.15 billion from $566 million in the year-ago quarter — but was more than 30% lower than the company’s sales in the second quarter of 2019.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast a loss of 60 cents a share on revenue of $1.99 billion.

Expedia said bookings rose 667% to $20.81 billion from $2.71 billion in the year-ago quarter, beating analysts’ average estimate of $19.39 billion.

The company did not provide a forecast for the third quarter. Chief Financial Officer Eric Hart said on the call that “things are just moving around quite a bit.”

Kern, the CEO, said “the combination of mix has been really different during COVID.” He mentioned that Vrbo, the home-rental marketplace it owns, is doing well, and that hotels are coming back. “Air and other things are down more considerably than lodging, car, et cetera,” Kern added.

Expedia stock has gained nearly 22% so far this year, and is up almost 92% in the past 52 weeks. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index
has risen almost 18% year to date and has increased 32% in the past year.

Expedia competitor Booking Holdings Inc.
which reported results Wednesday, saw its shares rise nearly 6% Thursday. They were flat after hours.

See: Booking stock gains after CEO says European travel rebounded, return to pre-pandemic performance is approaching

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