Baidu.com Q4 earnings grow fivefold

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NEW YORK -- Beijing-based Internet search engine Baidu.com Inc. on Wednesday said fourth-quarter net income increased fivefold as online marketing revenue more than doubled.

However, the company issued a first-quarter revenue forecast that falls short of Wall Street estimates.

Quarterly earnings grew to 122.8 million yuan ($15.7 million), or 3.54 yuan (45 cents) per American Depositary Share, from 24.5 million yuan, or 0.71 yuan per ADS, during the prior-year quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 32 cents per ADS.

Revenue more than doubled to 271.3 million yuan ($34.8 million), from 114.9 million yuan during the year-ago quarter. Online marketing revenue more than doubled to 269.9 million yuan ($34.6 million).

Analysts expected revenue of $34.9 million.

The number of active online marketing customers grew 6% to more than 108,000. New products include Baidu Blog Search and Baidu Favorites.

For the year, net income grew sixfold to 301.8 million yuan, or 8.75 yuan per ADS, from 47.6 million yuan, or 1.49 yuan per ADS.

Revenue more than doubled to 837.8 million yuan ($107.4 million), from 319.2 million yuan in 2005.

The company said it expects first-quarter revenue between 265 million yuan ($34 million) and 275 million yuan ($35 million), while analysts project revenue of $38.9 million.

Shares fell sharply in the after-hours session following the news but then rose 60 cents to $115.60 from the regular session close of $115, up $1.70, or 1.5%, on the Nasdaq.
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