We finally know where to find the fastest growing online travel company, and you better bring a passport.
It could've been Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO ) . The travel deals publisher saw its third-quarter revenue soar 40% last month. priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN ) wrestled the crown away on Monday, coming through with a 45% top-line spurt during the same period.
However, the "name your own price" giant's time on the throne was short-lived. Shares of MakeMyTrip (Nasdaq: MMYT ) -- India's leading travel portal -- climbed 7% yesterday after posting even better quarterly results.
Revenue soared 84% to $43.8 million, backed by a 57% spike in gross bookings. Adjusted earnings more than doubled to $0.04 a share.
It was easy to see why investors probably didn't see this one coming. For starters, the Indian travel fave only has a few analysts following the stock. Then you have Rediff.com's (Nasdaq: REDF ) disappointing quarterly report from three weeks ago. The Mumbai-based online portal -- which according to traffic tracker Alexa.com is the country's ninth most popular website -- grew its revenue by a mere 1% to just $5.1 million during the same quarter.
Why should MakeMyTrip -- No. 61 in India according to Alexa's watch -- fare any better?
Well, the key here is that MakeMyTrip is a proven e-commerce site. Folks hit up the site when they have travel in mind, and it also only helps at this point that MakeMyTrip books a lot of travel the old-fashioned way. Rediff is posting widening deficits on meager revenue because it's solely at the mercy of an online advertising market that has yet to fully develop in the world's second most populous nation.
Don't let MakeMyTrip's petty profitability scare you away. The few analysts following the company see earnings ramping up nicely in the coming years. Analysts are targeting net income of $0.28 a share this fiscal year ending in March, followed by $0.49 a share in earnings next year and $0.63 a share in fiscal 2014.
There aren't too many pure plays for India's inevitably buoyant Internet industry. Sify (Nasdaq: SIFY ) is there on the connectivity front. Rediff and MakeMyTrip are essentially it when it comes to pure plays in cyberspace. Don't expect too many more India-based dot-coms. The Google of India, after all, is in fact Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) . Google, YouTube, Facebook, and even LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD ) rank higher for traffic in India than even Rediff.
However, keep an eye on MakeMyTrip until Rediff either grows its revenue substantially or turns the corner on profitability. There may not be too many pure plays when it comes to India's Internet revolution, but MakeMyTrip has earned a right to be talked about in growth-stock investing circles.