UK Markets closed

Travelport Falls Short After Investing for the Future

Steve Symington, The Motley Fool

Travelport Worldwide (NYSE: TVPT) released third-quarter 2017 results on Thursday, highlighting the continued outperformance of its eNett commercial payments segment and several moves to improve its balance sheet.

However, the travel commerce platform company also missed bottom-line expectations for the quarter, and reduced its earnings expectations for the full year, though not without reason; shares are down around 9% as a result. Let's take a closer look at what drove Travelport's business as it entered the second half of the year.

Legs of a businessman walking to an airplane with a suitcase.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Travelport results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q3 2017

Q3 2016

Year-Over-Year Growth

Revenue

$610.8 million

$590.8 million

3.4%

GAAP net income (loss)

$4.7 million

$21.4

(78.1%)

GAAP earnings (loss) per diluted share

$0.04

$0.17

(76.5%)

Data source: Travelport. GAAP = generally accepted accounting principles.

What happened with Travelport this quarter

  • On an adjusted (non-GAAP) basis, which adds perspective by excluding items like restructuring costs and stock-based compensation, net income fell 45% to $22.7 million, or $0.18 per diluted share.
  • Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) declined 9.3% to $136.4 million.
  • Travel commerce platform revenue grew 4.7% to $586.2 million, including 2% growth in "air" segment revenue to $417.4 million, and an 11% increase in "beyond air" revenue to $168.8 million.
  • Travel commerce platform revenue by geography included:
  • Technology services revenue fell 20.3% to $24.7 million, mostly due to Travelport's divestment of its 51% stake in IGT Solutions earlier this year.
  • Operating cash flow declined 14% year over year to $96 million, and free cash flow fell 26% to $63 million.

What management had to say

Travelport CEO Gordon Wilson lauded Travelport's broad-based international growth, particularly in Asia where the company is gaining market share. Wilson also elaborated on the reasons for Travelport's falling profitability:

Our Adjusted EBITDA decreased in the quarter, with several of our planned technology investments moving from design to implementation phase, as we further expand our products and capabilities. We also incurred higher commercial expenditure relating to the growth and ongoing implementation of our signed new business. As our mix of business continues to pivot toward the fast-growing online channel, I am confident that these investments will drive sustainable longer-term growth.

Looking forward

Travelport reiterated its full-year 2017 guidance for revenue in the range of $2.425 billion to $2.475 billion, representing growth of 3% to 5% from 2016. But management now expects full-year adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income per share to be near the middle to lower ends of their previous respective ranges (of $585 million to $595 million, and $1.29 per share to $1.37 per share). By contrast, three months ago Travelport told investors to expect adjusted EBITDA and earnings per share near the high ends of those ranges.

To be fair, it's hard to blame Travelport for shifting strategic investments to better support its higher-growth online channel. But however astute this long-term thinking might be, it's no surprise to see Travelport stock falling today, given its bottom-line underperformance relative to the market's expectations.

More From The Motley Fool

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Travelport Worldwide. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.