* Revenue aided by purchase of Travelcity assets
* First quarter loss 5 cents a share vs estimate loss 2 cents (Adds analyst comment, updates stock price)
May 5 (Reuters) - Orbitz Worldwide, the online travel agency, on Monday reported a first-quarter loss as it set aside funds for income taxes and forecast revenue for the current period that topped current analyst estimates.
Revenue was aided by the February acquisition of certain assets of the Travelocity Partner Network, which handles contracts for Yahoo Travel and some banks.
Though the Travelocity purchase helped revenue, “it’s clear that (Orbitz is) continuing to execute, they’re improving the balance sheet, and there’s a lot of room for growth in terms of international penetration gains,” said Daniel Kurnos, an analyst with Benchmark Co.
Orbitz, which operates its namesake and CheapTickets brands in the United States and ebookers in Europe, has boosted revenue from hotel sales, which tend to be more profitable than airline tickets.
Quarterly revenue rose 4 percent to $210.3 million, compared with $206.5 million expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Orbitz forecast revenue for the second quarter of $239 million to $245 million, compared with $233.3 million expected by analysts.
In the first quarter, hotel revenue rose 7 percent to $67.2 million, while revenue from airline tickets rose 1 percent to $70.2 million.
Orbitz posted a net loss of $5.9 million, or five cents a diluted share, for the first quarter as it recorded an income tax provision of $7.3 million. That result compared with a year-earlier profit of $146.2 million, or $1.34 a share, which was aided by an income tax benefit of $158.5 million.
Analysts expected a loss of two cents a share, on average.
Shares of Orbitz were off 1.2 percent at $7.33 in morning trading. (Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)