India's Easy Trip Planners posts profit jump as bookings hit record high

BENGALURU, Feb 6 (Reuters) - India's Easy Trip Planners Ltd (EASM.NS) reported a 4.2% rise in third-quarter profit on Monday, as the steady recovery in travel pushed bookings to a record high, sending its shares up as much as 6.5%.

The company's consolidated net profit increased to 416.9 million rupees ($5.1 million) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from 400.3 million rupees a year earlier.

With restrictions easing and businesses opening up, recovery in the travel and tourism sector has been strong and steady.

Analysts said Easy Trip's one-off expense in the second quarter for promotional activities helped strengthen its brand positioning, but the roughly 53% jump in advertising and sales promotion—accounting for 24% of total costs—also ate into profit.

It also took some of the sheen of the online travel platform's 57.3% year-over-year jump in consolidated revenue from operations to 1.36 billion rupees.

Gross booking revenue (GBR) surged 75.3% to a record high of 2.27 billion rupees, "driven by strong volume growth in the flight and hotel segment," the New Delhi-based company said.

Revenue from air travel, which contributed roughly four-fifths of overall revenue, grew 29.5%.

InterGlobe Aviation Ltd (INGL.NS), the operator of India's top airline IndiGo, on Friday posted its first profit in a year, led by a pick up in demand for air travel.

Easy Trip's shares were last up 3.3%. They have fallen 1% so far this year following a jump of about 56% in 2022. ($1 = 82.4420 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Meenakshi Maidas in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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