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Priceline hits the black

Ditching staff and products works

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Name your price Web business Priceline.com has turned in its first ever profit. It's feeling pretty confident and has raised its revenue and earnings per share forecasts for the current quarter.

Accounting for restructuring and other one off charges, Priceline's net income for its Q2 was $2.8 million, or a penny per share. This compares with a net loss of $11.7 million, or 7 cents per share for the period a year earlier.

Revenues form the period were $364.8 million, 3.6 per cent up on the $352.1 million it reported in Q2 2000. It was 35 per cent up on its Q1 2001 sales of $269.7 million.

For Q3 Priceline expects an operating profit ranging between 5 cents and 7 cents per share. It expects sales to be up on last years Q3 revenues of $341 million.

Ninety-nine per cent of Priceline's sales in Q2 came from travel items - flights, car rental, and hotel rooms. For the period it flogged 1.4 million airline tickets, up 11 per cent on Q2 2000, and 34 per cent above Q1 this year.

To tighten up its business and see its first period in the black, Priceline has ditched 34 per cent of its staff, postponed expansion, and ditched product lines like online grocery and petrol sales. The moves saved the business around $100 million a year. ®

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