Airbnb (ABNB) Bookings Up 52% to Help Sales Beat, Seen as a 'Blow Out Quarter' as More Upside is Left

May 14, 2021 7:05 AM EDT
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Price: $153.90 +2.12%

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Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) reported better-than-expected Q1 earnings on Thursday after the market close. The company reported a loss of $1.95 per share on sales of $886.9 million. This is higher than analysts' expectations of $714.4 million generated in revenues.

“The strength of our Q1 results indicate the beginning of this travel rebound, and how well positioned we are to take advantage of it. Our results also reflect our continued focus, financial discipline, and strong execution. We will never forget the lessons we learned last year, and we are prepared for what’s ahead,” the company said in a statement.

“With the rollout of vaccines and the easing of some travel restrictions, our business significantly improved in Q1 2021 compared with the same period a year ago. People’s desire to travel, combined with our tightly managed expenses, drove a return to positive topline growth with materially improved Adjusted EBITDA.”

The company reported bookings of 64.4 million nights and experiences, which is 39% higher compared to the fourth quarter and 13% year over year. Analysts were calling for 62.5 million nights and experiences booked.

Gross booking value came in at $10.3 billion to mark a 52% increase and again much higher than the $7.87 billion expected from market analysts.

The company also highlighted that 24% of nights booked came from stays of at least 4 weeks, which is much higher compared with 14% in 2019.

For the guidance, the company said it expects Q2 revenues to be “significantly higher than that of Q2 2020”, which is understandable given the impact of Covid-19 on the prior-year period, and be at “a similar level to that of Q2 2019.” the company said.

“In Q2 2021, we expect the positive momentum of recovery experienced in Q1 2021 to be partially offset by the continued uncertainty of travel restrictions and lockdowns in EMEA.”

Bernie McTernan, an analyst at Needham & Company, praised a “blow out quarter” from ABNB on the recovery in demand for travel and holidays. He reiterated a “Buy” rating on the stock but lowered the price target to $194.00 from $210.00.

“This was a blow out quarter for ABNB, showing that travel is coming back and at higher levels of profitability. We are raising our estimates significantly expecting nearly $1B of adj. EBITDA in '21, which could help migrate ABNB out of the spec tech trading bucket and into quality tech which has outperformed in the recent sell-off. While there is a near-term lock up to get past, there is also a special announcement coming May 24th, including upgrades to make it easier to become a host,” the analyst wrote in a note.

Similarly, BofA’s Justin Post lowered the price target to $180.00 per share from the prior $190.00 on the Neutral-rated stock amid recent sector multiple compression.

“Results supported three key Airbnb positives for 2021, including: an AA recovery well ahead of the rest of travel, strong direct traffic given high demand/brand, and strong cost leverage given refocus on core business. However, with stock well above its IPO price and valued at 2x Bookings P/S at 12x our 2022 revenue estimate, we retain our Neutral rating.”

“Given recent sector multiple compression, we are lowering our PO to $180 based on 11x our higher ‘23E revenues (vs. 14x prior). We think Airbnb could have more bookings upside ahead, but Booking could also surprise with a European recovery,” Post concludes.

Wells Fargo's Brian Fitzgerald upgraded shares to "Overweight" following the results, saying they are "ready for a long-term stay."

"ABNB produced strong 1Q results, which we view as demonstrating the company's positive momentum exiting the pandemic, with ABNB set to benefit from secular demand shifts, increasing category familiarity/favorability, and shifts in workplace flexibility, which we believe represent longterm tailwinds for the short-term rentals market," the analyst commented. "Indeed, within our coverage group, we view ABNB as likely the strongest play on the future of remote and hybrid work. Our EBITDA forecasts head materially higher (our 2022E EBITDA more than doubles to $1.31B), and with shares now trading below ABNB's IPO price and well below our price target, we view risk-reward as attractive at current levels."

Airbnb stock is down 0.5% in pre-open Friday.

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