Priceline.com reported fourth quarter
losses that were more drastic than Wall Street had expected, but
significantly reduced from year ago losses.
The online retailer of airline tickets, rental cars, hotel rooms
and more blamed seasonal weakness, costs associated with the
closing of its gasoline and grocery sales service and negative news
stories about customer satisfaction.
The company, which allows customers to name the price they're
willing to pay for something and then holds them to it if the
product or service is available, had a fourth quarter net loss of
$105 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with losses of $921.4
million, or $5.91 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding charges related to the company's restructuring,
severance packages for former employees and new retention
incentives, Priceline reported an operating loss of $25 million, or
15 cents per share, more than doubling the loss analysts were
anticipating. Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial
were expecting a loss of 7 cents a share.
Shares of Priceline rose 6 cents to $3.06 in after hours trading
on Thursday after finishing the regular trading session up 43.7
cents, or 17 percent, on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Priceline's revenues rose 35 percent to $228 million in 2000,
compared with $169 million a year ago.
The company's net loss for the year was $329.5 million, or $1.97
per share, compared with a loss $1 billion, or $7.90 per share, for
all of 1999. Full year 2000 revenue shot up 156 percent to $1.24
billion, compared with $482.4 million reported in 1999.
In a conference call with analysts, Priceline.com President and
Chief Executive Officer Daniel H. Schulman said the company expects
to have operating profits as early as the second quarter of this
year. Operating profit excludes restructuring and special charges,
supplier warrant charges, option payroll taxes and stock-based
Priceline said it closed its auto insurance, life insurance,
business-to-business and wireless initiatives in order to focus on
its travel business, which it believes can drive the company to
operating profitability on its own.