Expedia posts bigger quarterly loss as pandemic takes toll

FILE PHOTO: The logo of global online travel brand Expedia is pictured at the International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

(Reuters) – Expedia Inc (EXPE.O) posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and suspended quarterly dividends on Wednesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated travel demand and hit bookings at the online agent.

Travel companies around the world are rushing to shore up finances after a steep fall in demand due to restrictions in movement that were imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Expedia said gross bookings fell 39.2% to $17.89 billion in the first quarter, as the pandemic significantly impacted North America, its largest region, and cancellations exceeded bookings in March.

Cancellation inquiries for air travel managed without an agent rose to over 95% in April from about 65% in February, the company said.

Expedia withdrew its 2020 forecast in March, a further sign of deepening worries for the global travel industry ravaged by the pandemic.

The company incurred an intangible asset impairment charge of $121 million and a goodwill impairment charge of $765 million in the first quarter.

Net loss attributable to Expedia was $1.30 billion, or $9.24 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with $103 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company posted a loss of $1.83 per share, compared with analyst estimates of a loss of $1.23, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue fell 15.3% to $2.21 billion.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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