Shares of travel portal darling Ctrip closed 3% lower yesterday after the company posted uninspiring quarterly results.
The second quarter itself was solid. Revenue climbed 46% to $103 million, with earnings of $0.23 a share landing the company just ahead of Wall Street's bottom-line target of $0.21 a share. There was a 42% uptick in its flagship hotel and air ticketing revenue, with even larger gains in corporate travel and vacation packages.
However, Ctrip's top-line outlook for the current quarter -- calling for revenue of 35% to 40% -- translates into decelerating top-line growth. It also didn't help that analysts were expecting third-quarter revenue to clock in marginally higher.
Home Inns, on the other hand, is rocking. Revenue climbed 26% to $119 million in its latest quarter, fueled by a 16% spike in RevPAR -- a critical lodging-industry metric that measures revenue per available room. Higher daily rates and an eye-popping 96.4% occupancy rate set the appropriate tone.
Being good simply isn't good enough anymore for Ctrip. Stateside investors looking for some skin in the promising travel industry within a red-hot China have far more options these days.
Ctrip is still a popular portal, but investors have a right to question paying nearly 45 times this year's projected earnings, given the cheaper alternatives. Search darling Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU ) trades at an even loftier multiple, but that's because it's operating practically uncontested in China these days.
Congratulations on the good quarter, Ctrip. Now, to move your shares higher, give us the great one we've been expecting.
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