Travel company Expedia Group (EXPE) reported a wider loss in the first quarter of 2018, primarily due to higher costs and expenses. Online travel companies including rival Booking Holdings (BKNG) are stepping up marketing spend to gain an advantage in the highly competitive industry.
Despite revenue improving 15% to $2.51 billion, Expedia’s loss widened to $137 million, or $0.91 per share, from $86 million, or $0.57 per share a year ago. Adjusted loss per share was $0.46, compared to a profit of $0.05 a year earlier. The results included the impacts of SilverRail and ALICE acquisitions.
Revenue benefited from a 15% growth in gross bookings. Growth in Brand Expedia, Hotels.com, Expedia Partner Solutions and HomeAway contributed to the increase in revenue.
Room nights stayed for Brand Expedia, Hotels.com, Expedia Partner Solutions and Egencia grew a combined 16%. Domestic gross bookings rose 10% and international gross bookings, which accounted for 39% of worldwide bookings, increased 25%.
As a percentage of global revenue in the first quarter, lodging accounted for 64%, advertising and media for 11%, air for 10% and all other revenues accounted for balance 15%. Growth in Brand Expedia, EAN, Hotels.com, and HomeAway drove lodging revenue higher.
Continued growth in Expedia Group Media Solutions and the positive impact from forex drove advertising and media revenue higher, while an increase in travel insurance and car rental products lifted All Other Revenue up 18%.
The company faced a continued pressure on the selling and marketing expenses, which grew by 19%. Increased marketing expenses, specifically from trivago, HomeAway, Hotels.com, Expedia Partner Solutions, and Brand Expedia were cited as reasons behind the rise in costs.
For the first-quarter, an increase in capital expenditures hurt free cash flow, which fell by $37 million from last year. During the quarter, Expedia repurchased 1.8 million shares and there was about 3.2 million shares balance under the February 2015 repurchase authorization.
The board also authorized an additional buyback of up to 15 million shares and declared a cash dividend of $0.30 per share, which is payable on June 14, 2018, to shareholders as on May 24, 2018.
Shares of Expedia, which traded in red, are up 9.23% in the aftermarket hours. The stock had been trading between $98.52 and $161 for the past 52 weeks.