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Hostelworld, the Irish travel website which raised EUR 180 million from its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in November, has said booking in the second half of 2015 were up 21% versus the same period a year earlier.

The group said it has continued to experience sustained growth in booking for its flagship Hostelworld brand with bookings up 17 per cent on an annual basis.

It said full-year earnings, which are due to be announced in April, are in line with expectations.

Hostelworld, which also operates the Hostelbookers and Hostels. com brands, said overall bookings growth during the second half of 2015 were up 2% and up 1% for the full-year.

The increased focus on Hostelworld as the primary brand and the ongoing integration of the Hostelbookers technology platform has, as expected, resulted in a continued reduction in Hostelbookers bookings in the period,” the company said adding that a new website was going live this month.

Hostelworld was founded by businessman Ray Nolan who sold the business to Hellman and Friedman in 2009 for EUR 202.5 million in a deal which netted Mr Nolan EUR 100 million.

The company specialises in offering online booking services and maintains a database with over 12,600 hostels in 170 countries.

In a trading update, Hostelworld said its mobile business is thriving with bookings made through smartphones and tablets now accounting for more than 40% of Hostelworld brand bookings last year.

The group said it continues to enjoy strong cash conversion and expects to announce its first dividend as a public company in April.

We are pleased with the financial performance of the group in 2015. Following the re-branding of the Hostelworld and Hostelbookers websites, the integration of the group’s technology platforms, the continuing advancement of our mobile offering and November 2015’s successful IPO, we look forward to the current year and beyond with confidence,” said chief executive Feargal Mooney.

Shares in the company which mainly trades in London closed down 2.5% on Wednesday at 207.25 pence.

Source: The Irish Times