Despegar.com Announces 3Q19 Reported Gross Bookings Up 8% year-over-year and 26% on an FX Neutral Basis
November 07, 2019 at 05:55 AM EST
Despegar.com, Corp. (NYSE: DESP), (“Despegar” or the “Company”) a leading online travel company in Latin America, today announced unaudited results for the three- and nine-months ended September 30, 2019. Financial results are expressed in U.S. dollars and are presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
Third Quarter 2019 Key Financial and Operating Highlights
(For definitions see page 9)
Key Recent Business Events
Message from CEO
Commenting on the Company’s results, Damian Scokin, CEO stated, “With Gross Bookings increasing 26% on an FX neutral basis coupled with a 26% increase in package transactions we are encouraged by the performance we were able to deliver during 3Q19. The quarter’s results also reflect the success of our re-branding campaign launched in 2Q19 as we gained market share in what has remained a challenging environment in some of our key markets. Additionally, with the costs and near-term impacts associated with the re-branding campaign behind us, we are back on track reporting positive EBITDA.
As the leading OTA in Latin America we are the partner of choice and have recently signed commercial and co-branding agreements with best-in-class international companies that will both expand our potential customer base as well as provide more products for our customers.
Our business generated solid cash flow from operations and overall, we maintain a healthy financial position. To that end, we took steps to generate value for shareholders and repurchased $39.3 million of our outstanding shares in the quarter for a total of $42.2 million year to date. While we continue to review and prioritize our capital needs, we remain committed to making the required investments in our Company to help position us for long-term success.
Looking towards the next few months, we continue to monitor the macro environment in the region, and remain encouraged with the company´s market outperformance. Further ahead, we remain confident that our strategic investments and new partnerships are establishing a solid foundation and creating further differentiation to deliver profitable growth.”
Overview of Third Quarter 2019 Results
Despegar continued to invest in driving share gains across its key markets during 3Q19 driven by continued investments, including heightened visibility from the successful rebranding campaign implemented in the prior quarter. Share gains were principally led by Brazil and Mexico further supported by other key markets.
Results for the quarter include three-months of operations from Viajes Falabella in Chile, Argentina and Peru and two months of operations in Colombia.
Transactions rose 5% YoY to 2.7 million in 3Q19, and FX neutral gross bookings increased 26% YoY. As reported gross bookings increased 8% YoY to $1,177.7 million in 3Q19 and were up 14% excluding Argentina. This performance was significantly better than the single digit contraction experienced by the air travel industry in Latin America in the third quarter in terms of gross bookings. This industry contraction is mostly explained by the macro volatility and currency depreciation experienced in the Company’s key markets, particularly Argentina and to a lesser extent Brazil.
The Company’s business is organized into two segments: (1) Air, which consists of the sale of airline tickets, and (2) Packages, Hotels and Other Travel Products, which consists of travel packages (the bundling of two or more products together which can include airline tickets and hotel rooms), as well as stand-alone sales of accommodations (including hotels and vacation rentals), car rentals, bus tickets, cruise tickets, travel insurance and destination services.
The share of higher-margin Packages, Hotels and Other Travel Products transactions in 3Q19 remained flat YoY at 42% of total transactions but improved from the 40% reported in 2Q19.
Reflecting sustained investments in Customer Service to enhance customer satisfaction, a key strategic priority, NPS in 3Q19 increased 150 basis points YoY.
The average selling price (“ASP”) in 3Q19 increased 21% YoY on an FX neutral basis and 3% on a reported basis to $433 per transaction. This was largely driven by: i) a product mix-shift to higher priced packages; ii) the positive impact from the acquisition of Viajes Falabella which contributed with a large share of higher-priced tourist packages, and iii) increased ASPs in Brazil triggered by higher air-domestic tariffs resulting from the industry contraction following Avianca Brasil’s suspension of operations in the prior quarter.
Despegar continues to drive mobile transaction growth, with total downloads exceeding 57 million at quarter end 3Q19. The number of mobile transactions increased 418 basis points YoY, with 39% of all transactions completed on the mobile platform.
During 3Q19, Brazil, Despegar´s most relevant market, accounting for 39% of total orders, reported a YoY increase of 3% in transactions. Gross bookings rose 19% YoY on an FX neutral basis, and 15% as reported. Reported ASPs increased 11% YoY (+16% FX neutral) as package transactions grew 21%. Additionally, ASPs increased due to the capacity contraction following Avianca Brasil’s suspension of operations which triggered an increase in air-domestic tariffs. Continued YoY mix-shift from domestic to international travel this quarter also contributed to higher ASPs.
Argentina remains impacted by adverse macro conditions with annualized inflation at 54% and 36% currency depreciation. These factors led to a 4% decline in transactions, explained by a decrease in international travel. On an FX neutral basis, gross bookings increased 47% YoY and ASPs rose 52%. On a reported basis, gross bookings and ASPs in Argentina decreased YoY by 11% and 8%, respectively.
Across the Rest of Latin America, Despegar reported an increase of 12% in transactions and 13% in gross bookings, while ASPs grew 1% year-over-year to $434 reflecting growth in packages across the region including the contribution of high-margin packages from the Viajes Falabella acquisition. On an FX neutral basis, gross bookings rose 21%, while ASPs grew 8%.
Revenues increased YoY by 19% on an FX neutral basis in 3Q19. As reported revenues, increased 9% to $132.0 million, from $121.2 million in 3Q18, reflecting solid growth in Packages, Hotels & Other Travel Products. Revenue margin increased 11 basis points YoY, to 11.2% in the quarter driven by growth in transactions in higher-margin stand-alone Packages, the initial benefits from the initiatives implemented in the prior quarter and the positive impact from Viajes Falabella. This more than offset: i) reductions in customer fees and discounts in package transactions to support market share growth; and ii) a reduction in air supplier volume bonuses.
Cost of Revenue and Gross Profit
Cost of revenue, which mainly consists of credit card processing fees, bank fees related to customer financing installment plans offered and fulfillment center expenses, increased 16% YoY to $42.6 million in 3Q19 from $36.7 million in 3Q18. As a percentage of revenue, cost of revenue increased 201 basis points to 32% from 30% in the year ago quarter.
The absolute year-on-year increase in cost of revenue was primarily driven by higher installment plan costs reflecting higher interest rates and increased availability of installments in Argentina. Additionally, credit card merchant fee expense increased reflecting a higher mix of transactions. This was partially offset by a decline in fulfillment costs due to efficiency gains.
On an FX neutral basis, gross profit increased 9% to $92.4 million. As reported gross profit increased 6% YoY to $89.5 million in 3Q19.
Total operating expenses in 3Q19 increased 19% YoY to $89.7 million. Excluding Viajes Falabella, expenses grew 8%. This increase is associated with several projects underway such as; call center improvements including customer care automation and development of the loyalty program, among others. Excluding one-time severance costs in 3Q18 and Viajes Falabella´s contribution this quarter, operating expenses in 3Q19 increased 9% YoY to $81.5 million.
As a percentage of revenues, operating expenses excluding one-time items and Viajes Falabella, increased 507 basis points to 66.7% in 3Q19 from 61.6% in 3Q18.
In the third quarter of 2019, the Company reported a net financial expense of $3.6 million compared to $11.0 million in 3Q18. The decrease was primarily due to lower foreign exchange losses generated by currency devaluation in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in 3Q19 vis-à-vis 3Q18, given the sharp devaluation in emerging market currencies experienced in 3Q18. Savings were partially offset by higher credit card receivable factoring expenses in Brazil as a result of the increase in the discounted amounts.
The company reported an income tax benefit of $0.2 million in 3Q19, compared to a benefit of $0.5 million in 3Q18. The effective tax rate in 3Q19 was 4%, compared to 25% in 3Q18. The variation is mainly driven by the recognition of deferred tax allowances in certain subsidiaries and the reversal of a tax contingency due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Adjusted EBITDA & Margin
Reported Adjusted EBITDA was $9.4 million in 3Q19 compared to a $14.5 million in 3Q18. This resulted in an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 7.1% for 3Q19, compared with 12.0% in the same quarter last year. On a sequential basis, this was an improvement from the negative 6.4% Adjusted EBITDA margin reported in 2Q19 which was mainly impacted from one-time costs associated with the rebranding campaign implemented in that period and to a lesser extent to the suspension of operations of Avianca Brasil along with weak macro conditions in Argentina.
Year-on-year comparable Adjusted EBITDA performance mainly reflects the challenging macro environment in Argentina and to a lesser extent in Brazil, primarily resulting in higher year-on-year price discounts in packages to support top line growth, and lower fees from lodging and car rental transactions. Higher installment expense to drive top line growth in addition to higher credit card processing fees also impacted Adjusted EBITDA margin. Excluding a $0.8 million one-time severance payment in 3Q18, comparable Adjusted EBITDA would have decreased 39% to $9.4 million in 3Q19, from $15.3 million in the prior year quarter.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
The Company’s cash and treasury operations are managed locally while subsidiaries’ dividends are paid directly to Despegar in Delaware, U.S. Additionally, Despegar’s cash balance is held in US dollars in the US and UK. Despegar minimizes its foreign currency exposures by managing natural hedges, netting its current assets and current liabilities in similarly denominated foreign currencies, and managing short term loans and investments for hedging purposes.
Cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, at September 30, 2019 was $300.1 million. During the quarter, cash and cash equivalents decreased by $22.1 million, while the total debt balance decreased $0.8 million. Additionally, during the quarter, the Company repurchased $39.3 million in shares under previously announced share buyback program.
Despegar reported cash generation from operating activities of $25.6 million compared to a use of cash of $26.7 million in 3Q18. This cash generation mainly resulted from a decrease in the Company’s credit card receivable balance driven by Brazil, Chile and Ecuador due to better collecting conditions, an increase in Tourist Payables due to higher sales and a decrease in other assets and prepaid expenses driven by a drop in advances to suppliers.
During 3Q19, the Company’s capital expenditures were $5.9 million compared to $3.7 million during the same quarter in the prior year. Funds were primarily invested in software and website development.
Despegar Announces API Connectivity Agreement with Ctrip
On October 24, 2019, Despegar announced it has signed an API (Application-Programming Interface), Connectivity Agreement with Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (Nasdaq: CTRP) ("Ctrip"), a leading provider of online travel and related services. With this Agreement, Despegar will make available to Ctrip its direct accommodation inventory in Latin America utilizing its API which will be available across Ctrip’s associated brands through its mobile apps and internet websites.
Despegar Signs 10-year Exclusive Regional Cobrand Agreement with ICBC and Mastercard
On October 29, 2019, Despegar signed a 10-year exclusive agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (“ICBC”) to launch a co-branded credit card in Argentina in partnership with Mastercard.
Argentina Considered Hyperinflationary Economy
As of July 1, 2018, as a result of a three-year cumulative inflation rate greater than 100% and following the guidance of ASC 830 the U.S. dollar became the functional currency of the Company’s Argentine subsidiary. This change in functional currency is being recognized prospectively in the financial statements. As a result, starting 3Q18 the impact of any change in currency exchange rate on the Company’s balance sheet accounts is reported in the Net financial income/(expense) line of the income statement instead of Other comprehensive income.
3Q19 Earnings Conference Call
Definitions and concepts
Average Selling Price (ASP): reflects gross bookings divided by the total number of transactions.
Gross Bookings: Gross bookings is an operating measure that represents the aggregate purchase price of all travel products booked by the Company’s customers through its platform during a given period. The Company generates substantially all of its revenue from commissions and other incentive payments paid by its suppliers and service fees paid by its customers for transactions through its platform, and, as a result, it monitors gross bookings as an important indicator of its ability to generate revenue.
Foreign Exchange (“FX”) Neutral calculated by using the average monthly exchange rate of each month of 2018 and applying it to the corresponding months in the current year, so as to calculate what the results would have been had exchange rates remained constant. These calculations do not include any other macroeconomic effect such as local currency inflation effects.
Number of Transactions: The number of transactions for a period is an operating measure that represents the total number of customer orders completed on our platform in such period. The number of transactions is an important metric because it is an indicator of the level of engagement with the Company’s customers and the scale of its business from period to period but, unlike gross bookings, the number of transactions is independent of the average selling price of each transaction, which can be influenced by fluctuations in currency exchange rates among other factors.
Revenue: The Company reports its revenue on a net basis, and in some cases on a gross basis, deducting cancellations and amounts that it collects as sales taxes. Despegar derives substantially all of its revenue from commissions and other incentive payments paid by its suppliers and service fees paid by its customers for transactions through its platform. To a lesser extent, Despegar also derives revenue from the sale of third-party advertisements on its websites and from certain suppliers when their brands appears in the Company advertisements in mass media.
Revenue Margin: calculated as revenue divided by gross bookings.
Seasonality: Despegar’s financial results experience fluctuations due to seasonal variations in demand for travel services. Bookings for vacation and leisure travel are generally higher during the fourth quarter, although to date and prior to the revenue recognition change beginning in the first quarter of 2018, the Company has recognized more revenue associated with those bookings in the fourth quarter of each year. Latin American travelers, particularly leisure travelers, who are Despegar’s primary customers, tend to travel most frequently at the end of the fourth quarter and during the first quarter of each year.
Despegar is the leading online travel company in Latin America. With over two decades of business experience and operating in 20 countries in the region, Despegar accompanies Latin American travelers from the moment they dream of taking a trip until they share their memories of that trip. Thanks to the strong commitment to technological development and customer service, Despegar offers a customized experience to more than 18 million customers.
Despegar’s websites and leading mobile apps, offer products from over 270 airlines, more than 512,000 accommodation options, as well as approximately 1,190 car rental agencies and approximately 326 destination services suppliers with more than 5,690 activities throughout Latin America. The Company owns and operates two well-recognized brands, Despegar, its global brand, and Decolar, its Brazilian brand. Despegar is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DESP). For more information, please visit www.despegar.com.
This press release includes forward-looking statements. We base these forward-looking statements on our current beliefs, expectations and projections about future events and financial trends affecting our business and our market. Many important factors could cause our actual results to differ substantially from those anticipated in our forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update publicly or to revise any forward-looking statements.
-- Financial Tables Follow --
Unaudited Consolidated Statements of Operations for the three-month period ended September 30, 2019 (in thousands U.S. dollars, except as noted)
Key Financial & Operating Trended Metrics (in thousands U.S. dollars, except as noted)
Unaudited Consolidated Balance Sheets as of September 30, 2019 (in thousands U.S. dollars, except as noted)
Unaudited Statements of Cash Flows for the three-month period ended September 30, 2019 and 2018
(in thousands U.S. dollars, except as noted)
Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
This announcement includes certain references to Adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP financial measures. The Company defines:
Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income/(loss) exclusive of financial income/(expense), income tax, depreciation, amortization and share-based compensation expense.
Adjusted EBITDA is not a measure recognized under U.S. GAAP. Accordingly, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this information and should note that these measures as calculated by the Company, differ materially from similarly titled measures reported by other companies, including its competitors. Adjusted EBITDA margin refers to Adjusted EBITDA as defined above divided by revenue.
To supplement our consolidated financial statements presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we use foreign exchange (“FX”) neutral measures.
This non-GAAP measure should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and may be different from non-GAAP measures used by other companies. In addition, this non-GAAP measure is not based on any comprehensive set of accounting rules or principles. Non-GAAP measures have limitations in that they do not reflect all of the amounts associated with our results of operations as determined in accordance with U.S. GAAP. This non-GAAP financial measure should only be used to evaluate our results of operations in conjunction with the most comparable U.S. GAAP financial measures.
Reconciliation of this non-GAAP financial measure to the most comparable U.S. GAAP financial measures can be found in the tables included in this quarterly earnings release.
The Company believes that reconciliation of FX neutral measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure provides investors an overall understanding of our current financial performance and its prospects for the future. Specifically, we believe this non-GAAP measure provide useful information to both management and investors by excluding the foreign currency exchange rate impact that may not be indicative of our core operating results and business outlook.
The FX neutral measures were calculated by using the average monthly exchange rates for each month during 2018 and applying them to the corresponding months in 2019, so as to calculate what our results would have been had exchange rates remained stable from one year to the next. The table below excludes intercompany allocation FX effects. Finally, this measure does not include any other macroeconomic effect such as local currency inflation effects, the impact on impairment calculations or any price adjustment to compensate local currency inflation or devaluations.
The following table sets forth the FX neutral measures related to our reported results of the operations for the three-month period ended September 30, 2019: