Nasdaq-listed online travel agency Priceline.com says second-quarter net profit has risen 22 per cent year on year on the back of cost cutting and an increase in hotel bookings. Priceline.com, controlled by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa, reported a US$7.68 million profit on revenues of $239.6 million for the three months ending June. President and chief executive Jeffery Boyd expected top-line revenue growth of 5 per cent year on year in the third quarter with target income per share of 20 US cents to 22 cents. This target exceeds First Call analysts' consensus of 15 US cents per share. 'Priceline.com's third quarter got off to a strong start in July, buoyed by strong seasonal leisure travel demand,' Mr Boyd said. The chief executive hoped to achieve revenues this month of up to US$95 million as a result of accelerating growth in the company's hotel and rental car business. In the second quarter, priceline.com said it had sold about 1.5 million hotel room nights, an increase of about 270,000 from the first quarter. By the end of the second quarter, it said its customer base had grown 22 per cent to 17.8 million from a year ago. Priceline.com said its quarterly result had also benefited from US$1.1 million income contributed from pricelinemortgage. The company's Hong Kong unit, Hutchison-Price (Travel), a 65-35 per cent joint venture between Hutchison Whampoa and Priceline.com, said its business had fully recovered to the pre-Sars level. Hutchison-Price (Travel) chief executive Alfredo Gangotena said: 'Our business in June and July did quite well.' He reported steady sales of its published-price hotel booking product launched early this year. Last month, the company expanded its published-price products to airline reservations.