Booking Holdings Inc. BKNG reported non-GAAP earnings of $15.83 per share in fourth-quarter 2021, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 24.3%. Further, the figure compares favorably with the loss of 57 cents per share reported in the year-ago quarter.
However, the bottom line declined 58% from the previous quarter.
Revenues of $2.98 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.9 billion. The top line improved 140.7% year over year on a reported basis and 146% on a constant-currency (cc) basis.
However, the top-line figure fell 36.2% sequentially.
Improving travel demand and booking trends from the year-ago quarter were tailwinds.
Booking Holdings witnessed growth of 35.8% in rental car on a year-over-year basis. The company also experienced 108% year-over-year growth in the airline tickets unit in the reported quarter.
Booked room night number, which was 151 million in the fourth quarter, surged 99.9% from the prior-year quarter.
The company witnessed strong growth across its agency, merchant, and advertising and other businesses in the reported quarter.
However, the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of coronavirus, which affected global travel demand at the end of the reported quarter, was a headwind.
Nevertheless, the ongoing vaccination drive and strengthening confidence for travel among people amid the pandemic remains a major positive.
Booking Holdings Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Booking Holdings Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Booking Holdings Inc. Quote
Top Line in Detail
The company generates the bulk of revenues from international markets, wherein the agency model is more popular. This is reflected in the merchant/agency split of revenues, which was 34.9/58.7% in the fourth quarter (the previous quarter’s split was 34.7/61.3%)
Agency revenues were $1.75 billion, up 116.2% year over year. Merchant revenues were $1.04 billion, up 176.6% on a year-over-year basis.
Advertising & Other revenues were $190 million (6.4% of total revenues), increasing significantly from $52 million in the year-ago quarter.
Booking Holdings’ overall gross bookings totaled $19.01 billion, which increased 160% on a reported and 164% on a cc basis from the year-ago quarter.
Total gross bookings lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $19.9 billion.
Merchant bookings were $7.14 billion, up 222.2% from the prior-year quarter.
Agency bookings were $11.9 billion, rising 132.9% from the prior-year quarter.
Adjusted EBITDA in the reported quarter was $940 million against a loss of $38 million in the prior-year quarter.
Per management, operating expenses were $2.1 billion, up 53.3% on a year-over-year basis. As a percentage of revenues, the figure contracted significantly to 71.6% from 112.4% in the year-ago quarter.
Notably, the company generated an operating income of $848 million against a loss of $153 million in the year-ago quarter.
As of Dec 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents were $11.13 billion, down from $11.6 billion as of Sep 30, 2021.
Short-term investments amounted to $25 million in the reported quarter compared with $522 million in the previous quarter.
At the end of the fourth quarter, Booking Holdings had $8.94 billion of long-term debt compared with $9.89 billion at the end of the third quarter.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Currently, Booking Holdings carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked companies in the retail-wholesale sector are AutoNation AN, Asbury Automotive Group ABG and Dollar Tree DLTR. While AutoNation and Asbury Automotive currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Dollar Tree carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
AutoNation has gained 37.8% over a year. The long-term earnings growth rate for AN is currently projected at 23.55%.
Asbury Automotive has gained 9.3% over a year. The long-term earnings growth rate for ABG is currently projected at 18.52%.
Dollar Tree has gained 37.7% over a year. The long-term earnings growth rate for DLTR is currently projected at 12.18%.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Dollar Tree, Inc. (DLTR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
AutoNation, Inc. (AN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (ABG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
Zacks Investment Research