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Orbitz posts profit, rebounds from year-ago loss

CHICAGO — Orbitz Worldwide Inc. posted first-quarter net income of $146.2 million on Thursday as a hefty tax benefit and higher revenue from hotel and vacation package bookings helped it rebound from a loss in the year-ago period.

The results impressed investors and the company issued strong revenue predictions for the current quarter and full year.

Orbitz shares rose $1.52, or 23.6 percent, to $7.96 in midday trading after rising as high as $8 earlier, its highest level since late December 2009.

The Chicago-based online travel company’s profit amounted to $1.34 per share and contrasted with a loss of $6.5 million, or 6 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2012.

The recent quarter’s results included a tax benefit of $158.5 million.

Revenue increased 7 percent to $202.9 million from $189.8 million, while analysts polled by FactSet expected $198.3 million.

Gross bookings fell 1 percent from a year ago, mainly as a result of a lower air travel bookings, while hotel, vacation package and car rental booking volumes all increased.

The number of hotel room nights booked increased 14 percent, while overall revenue from standalone hotel stays and vacation packages also rose.

For the current quarter, Orbitz said it expects its revenue to total between $214 million and $220 million, ahead of current Wall Street predictions of $212.4 million.

For the full year, the company said it expects revenue growth of between 4 percent and 7 percent, up from its February prediction of between 2.5 percent and 5 percent.

Based on the company’s 2012 results, the new guidance implies 2013 revenue of between $810 million and $833.3 million. Analysts expect $813.1 million.

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