By Dave Sebastian
Booking Holdings Inc. reported higher-than-expected profit and revenue in the latest quarter, boosted by what its chief executive called a solid start to the summer travel season.
Total revenue for the online-travel company rose 8.8% from the previous year to $3.85 billion compared with the prior year, beating the consensus forecast of $3.75 billion.
The company, which owns travel-booking sites Booking.com, Priceline and Kayak, said it had gross travel bookings of $25 billion in the quarter, up 5% from a year earlier. Room nights booked during the quarter increased 12% from the year-earlier period.
Booking Holdings reported a profit for the second quarter of $979 million, or $22.44 a share, ticking up by $1 million from the previous year. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting $960.4 million, or $21.65 a share. Adjusted earnings were $23.59 a share, beating analysts' expectations of $22.69 a share.
Shares rose 5% in after-hours trading.
For the third quarter, the Norwalk, Conn.-based company said it expects revenue growth of 2% to 4%, or 4% to 6% on a constant-currency basis. The company projected adjusted earnings per share of between $43.60 and $44.60 for the quarter. As of July 31, analysts were expecting third-quarter adjusted earnings of $44.02 a share.
Booking Holdings President and Chief Executive Glenn Fogel said in an earnings call Wednesday that the company took into account challenges from the U.S.-China trade tensions, the unrest in Hong Kong and indications by central banks that the macroeconomic environment may be weakening. The Chinese market, despite the tensions, is still robust long-term, Mr. Fogel said.
"In the long run, there's going to be a lot more Chinese travelers outbound, so it's important that one doesn't just pull back because of any sort of short-term blip," Mr. Fogel said.
Booking Holdings said it is also monitoring developments with Brexit, which could devalue the British pound and make it more expensive for British travelers to go overseas. "Generally, experiences [with Brexit concerns] have been short term in nature, and they rebound quickly," financial chief David Goulden said in the call.
Newly elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ramped up rhetoric for a "no-deal" Brexit, causing fears over the economic hit the country faces if it leaves the European Union without a pact to smooth the split.