Sina Q4 sales beat Street despite ad market concerns

Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:37pm EST
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(Reuters) - Sina Corp posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and profit amid concerns about the slowing growth of Chinese online advertising.

Shares in the company, which runs China's largest online portal and the Twitter-like "Weibo" microblogging platform, climbed 6 percent to $56.50 after-hours. They have fallen 13.4 percent since the start of the fourth quarter, underperforming a 2 percent rise in the Nasdaq.

Net profit fell 74 percent in the fourth quarter to $2.4 million, or 3 cents per share, from $9.3 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier. But excluding certain items, non-GAAP earnings were $9 million, or 13 cents a share, versus $14 million or 21 cents a share a year earlier.

That surpassed an average forecast for 5 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

China's online advertising market grew 46.8 percent in 2012, but that was down from 57.6 percent in 2011, according to technology research firm iResearch. The softer advertising market, due to a weaker economic environment, has also hit Sina peers Baidu Inc and Inc.

Analysts say Sina's new "Weibo" advertising products have drawn muted sales.

Sina said it expects first-quarter adjusted net revenue to range between $115 million and $119 million, in line with average predictions on Wall Street for about $117 million. It forecast advertising revenue of $94 million to $96 million this quarter.

Advertising revenue came in at $110.7 million in the fourth quarter, versus a previous company projection for between $110 million and $112 million.

It posted overall fourth-quarter net revenue of $139.1 million, versus an average forecast for $133.9 million according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Non-advertising revenue decreased 4 percent to $28.5 million.   Continued...

The logo of Sina Corp's Chinese microblog website "Weibo" is seen on a screen in this photo illustration taken in Beijing September 13, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer