Expedia 4Q Earnings, Shares Decline

Internet travel service provider Expedia Inc. (EXPE) said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit declined in what the company called a "fiercely competitive environment," and shares tumbled after hours.

The company earned $25.2 million, or 7 cents per share, down 43 percent from $44.1 million, or 13 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings, excluding certain costs and items, totaled 20 cents per share, compared with last year's adjusted earnings of 27 cents per share.

Sales jumped 13 percent, to $494.7 million from last year's $439 million.

Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of 25 cents per share on sales of $504.7 million, according to a poll by Thomson Financial. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates.

The quarter's results weren't as strong as the company hoped they would be, said Dara Khosrowshahi, president and chief executive, in a statement.

Shares plunged $2.75, or 11.3 percent, to $21.50 in after-hours electronic trading, after closing at $24.25 on the Nasdaq.

For the full year, the company earned $228.7 million, or 65 cents per share, up 40 percent from last year's $163.5 million, or 48 cents per share.

Sales rose 15 percent to $2.12 billion from $1.84 billion in the prior year.