Originally created 05/06/04

Orbitz turns to profit as bookings, revenue rise



CHICAGO - Orbitz Inc. posted a profit in the first quarter, helped by higher bookings and a surge in hotel revenue.

The Chicago-based travel-booking company, which went public in December, reported net income of $1.9 million, or 4 cents a share.

In the same period last year, Orbitz lost $2.4 million, or 7 cents a share, on a pro forma basis.

The latest results included a stock compensation charge of $1.4 million for the April 2002 restructuring of outstanding stock options. Excluding that item, the company said earnings would have been $3.3 million, or 7 cents a share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast, on average, first-quarter earnings of 3 cents a share, excluding items.

Revenue soared 42 percent to $70.3 million from $49.5 million.

Revenue from hotel, car, vacation packages and cruises more than doubled to $17.7 million amid a surge in hotel revenue.

Air revenue increased 22 percent to $43.1 million, and other revenue, which includes advertising and airline Web site hosting revenue, rose 41 percent to $9.4 million.

Orbitz said its gross travel bookings climbed 38 percent to $1.06 billion.

Orbitz expects second-quarter pretax earnings of $3.6 million to $6.6 million, or 8 cents to 15 cents a share.

Orbitz also sees revenue between $77 million and $80 million, reflecting that it has resolved a dispute with Travelweb LLC, a Dallas travel-distribution firm.

Travelweb on Monday settled its breach-of-contract lawsuit against Orbitz, its largest distributor. The suit, filed in October 2003, alleged Orbitz had been contracting with hotels that Travelweb was paying Orbitz to market.

The settlement means Travelweb will continue to provide discounted hotel rooms to Orbitz.