August 21, 2018 / 6:57 AM / in 2 months

Hostelworld sees full-year bookings flat, shares fall

(Reuters) - Hostelworld Group (HSW.L) forecast stagnation of full-year bookings for 2018 on Tuesday, sending shares in the online booking platform 10 percent lower as it replaced a second member of senior management.

The company, which posted booking growth of 2 percent in the first half, said higher levels of competition in Europe, as well as the FIFA World Cup and unusually warm weather, had hurt bookings.

New Chief Financial Officer TJ Kelly joins from Irish nutrition company Glanbia (GL9.I) and was previously a financial controller at Microsoft in Ireland. His appointment follows that of Expedia executive Gary Morrison to replace previous CEO Feargal Mooney in June.

Its last chief financial officer, Mari Hurley, announced her departure at the end of last year.

The company said revenue dipped 9 percent to 42.6 million euros (38.20 million pounds)for the six months ended June 30, in part reflecting the deferral of 4.2 million euros in revenue in relation to its policy of free cancellations.

Adjusted Profit also fell to 7.6 million euros from 10.3 million euros a year earlier.

“Overall, our first half results were in line with our expectations,” Morrison said, while adding that the company was tightening its belt to deal with the softness in summer bookings.

“In response to these circumstances, we are continuing our program of rigorous cost control,” he added.

Marketing investment per booking fell by 7 percent.

Analysts at Davy Research cut full-year EBITDA estimates for the company from 23.8 million euros to about 21.1 million, citing the uncertainty of current trading and the impact of the free cancellations offering.

The company’s shares fell 9.7 percent to 264.18 pence in early trading.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Patrick Graham

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