Saturday, May 8, 2010 (NASDAQ: PCLN): Q1 Earnings Preview (NASDAQ: PCLN) is scheduled to release its first-quarter 2010 financial results after the closing bell on Monday, May 10, 2010. Analysts, on average, expect the company to report earnings of $1.66 a share on revenue of $597.20 million. In the year ago period, the company posted earnings of $1.09 per share on revenue of $462.06 million. Incorporated operates as an online travel company principally in the United States, Europe, and Asia. It provides various travel services, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, vacation packages, cruises, and reservation services. The travel industry is continuing to utilize online services to outsource the excess capacity and the company's profitability has expanded rather significantly.

In the preceding fourth quarter, the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company reported that its net income surged to $78.46 million or $1.55 per share from $34.15 million or $0.75 per share in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue jumped 30.1% to $730.66 million from $561.61 million in the prior-year quarter. Pro forma net income totaled $101.65 million or $1.99 per share, compared to $58.23 million or $1.29 per share a year ago. Revenues jumped 33.4% to $541.75 million from $406.04 million in the year-earlier quarter beating Street estimates of $529.79 million. Analysts, on average, expected the company to earn $1.68 per share on revenue of $529.79 million. expects to report first quarter earnings in the range of $1.04 to $1.14 per share and pro forma net income between $1.54 and $1.64 per share. The company also expects a year-over-year increase in revenue of around 23% to 27% and gross profit dollars to grow by approximately 50%.

The company anticipated total gross bookings to grow by 42% to 48%, with domestic gross bookings growing by approximately 10% to 15%. It expects international gross bookings expressed in US dollars to grow by 65% to 73% as compared to last year, and to grow on a local currency basis by approximately 56% to 64%.

The company has benefited from the growing trend of online transactions, strong international growth and recovery in travel demand. However, the recent strengthening of the dollar against the euro and deepening financial crisis may erode the company's bottomline. Disruptions in travel plans across Europe due to Iceland's erupting volcano is also expected to negatively impact the company's performance. Experts believe that Priceline may provide a softer-than-expected second quarter guidance when it reports on Monday.

In terms of stock performance, shares have gained 132 percent over the past year.

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