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Expedia revenue rises more than expected as bookings increase

The logo of global online travel brand Expedia is pictured at the International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

(Reuters) - Online travel services company Expedia Inc reported a better-than-expected increase in fourth-quarter revenue, helped by higher gross bookings. However, the company's adjusted profit fell short of Wall Street estimates, due to higher expenses in the quarter. The company said gross bookings rose 8 percent to $16.10 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, primarily driven growth in Expedia.com and Hotels.com. Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia said domestic gross bookings increased 5 percent, while international gross bookings rose 13 percent. The company's total revenue rose 23.2 percent to $2.09 billion, beating analysts' average estimate of $2.07 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Expedia's shares fell 2 percent in after hours trading on Thursday after the company issued its report, but later recovered to trade marginally higher, up 0.4 percent at $123.70. Shares of online booking agencies have taken a hit following the Trump administration's ban on travel from seven majority Muslim nations. Expedia had said the order "jeopardizes its corporate mission and could have a detrimental impact on its business and employees, as well as the broader U.S. and global travel and tourism industry." On an adjusted basis, Expedia earned $1.17 per share in the latest quarter, missing analysts' average estimate of $1.37, as expenses rose 17 percent. Net income attributable to Expedia was $79.5 million, or 51 cents per share, compared with a loss of $12.5 million, or 9 cents per share. The year-ago quarter included charges related to Expedia's purchase of vacation rental site HomeAway Inc, a move largely seen as ramping up competition with apartment-sharing startup Airbnb. Expedia plans to push HomeAway, which has primarily marketed beach and ski rentals, into cities such as Paris and San Francisco where Airbnb holds sway. Expedia has a majority stake in hotel search platform Trivago GmbH, which went public in December. Trivago shares were up nearly 11 percent in after-hours trading. (Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)