TripAdvisor sees marketing costs rising in 2013

Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:16pm EST

* Fourth-quarter revenue up 23 pct to $169.4 million

* Fourth-quarter EPS excluding items 29 cents vs est 27 cents

* CEO says costs to rise faster than revenue in 2013

* Shares down 10 pct in after-market trading

By Suzannah Benjamin

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Travel website operator TripAdvisor Inc forecast its costs would increase more quickly than revenue in 2013, overshadowing a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and sending its shares down 10 percent in after-market trading.

The company's continued efforts to invest in various online and offline marketing campaigns would increase its expenses throughout the year, mainly in the second half, Chief Executive Steve Kaufer said in a conference call with analysts.

"We expect sales and marketing (expenditure) as a percent of revenue to progress from the mid-30s to the low- to mid-40s throughout the year," Kaufer said.

Newton, Massachusetts-based TripAdvisor aggregates reviews and opinions about destinations and accommodation and depends on advertisements and subscriptions for its revenue.

The company's total costs and expenses rose 17 percent to $122.4 million during the fourth quarter.

Net income rose to $33.7 million, or 23 cents a share, from$22.0 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 29 cents per share.

Revenue rose 23 percent to $169.4 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 27 cents per share, excluding items, on revenue of $167.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of TripAdvisor were trading at $42.00 after the bell on Wednesday. They closed at $46.90 on the Nasdaq.