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Bull of the Day: Orient Express (OEH)

Tracey Ryniec

Orient-Express Hotels Limited (OEH) is cashing in on the upsurge in travel. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) is expected to grow earnings by the triple digits this year.

Orient-Express owns or manages 45 luxury hotels, a restaurant, a tourist train which goes to Machu Picchu in Peru and river cruises in 22 countries.

A 28% Beat in Q3

On Oct 31, Orient-Express reported third quarter results and surprised on the Zacks Consensus by 4 cents. Earnings were 18 cents compared to the Consensus of 14 cents. It was the third big beat in a row.

Revenue jumped 19% to $191.2 million from $161 million in the third quarter of last year. Both owned hotels and trains and cruises performed well in the quarter.

Revenue from owned hotels jumped 22% to $159.2 million while revenue from trains and cruises rose 5% to $26 million.

There were across-the-board increases at the Orient-Express' European hotels and Charleston Place, in South Carolina, is having a record year. Conde Nast recently names Charleston as one of the top cities to visit in North America for the second straight year.

Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was finally fully operational after undergoing a renovation. The hotel celebrated its 90th anniversary in September with a celebratory gala which got a lot of press attention.

Estimates Rise for 2013 and 2014

The analysts remain bullish on Orient-Express.

The 2013 Zacks Consensus has risen to $0.22 from $0.17 in the last 2 months. That is earnings growth of 346% from 2012.

More of the same is expected in 2014 as the Zacks Consensus Estimate has risen to $0.36 from $0.31 in the prior 60 days. That is further earnings growth of 60%.

Buy Out Offer is Off the Table

On Nov 8, Indian Hotels Company, the owner of the Taj Mahal brand of resorts, finally pulled the plug on its previous buy out off of Orient Express which Orient Express had said undervalued the company.

Indian Hotels was already a 7% shareholder of Orient Express.

Shares of Orient Express were stagnant over the summer as the buy out offer loomed but have since moved to 52-week highs after the buy out offer was abandoned.

For investors looking for a way to play the resurgence of luxury travel, a luxury hotel and river cruise company has to be on the short list.

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Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Value Investor services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec.

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