Focus Media net rises; outlook up; shares rise


NEW YORK -- China's top online advertising company, Focus Media Holding Ltd., said Thursday that quarterly net profit rose 73%, amid rapid growth in the country's advertising market and shares rose 3.5%.

The Shanghai-based Focus company posted a first-quarter net profit of $16.3 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with $9.4 million, or 10 cents per American Depositary Share (ADS) in the year-earlier quarter. Excluding one-time items, the company reported a profit of 13 cents per share.

Revenue rose 75.4% to $58.1 million.

The net profit result beat analysts' forecasts, which on average, were 14 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates. Excluding stock option expenses and one-time items, analysts had predicted, on average, 19 cents per share.

Analysts had predicted first-quarter revenue, on average, of $55.4 million, according to Reuters Estimates. Forecasts ranged from $54.4 million to $56.0 million.

Focus Media shares, which have risen 20% in the year to date, closed up 1.3% at $39.86 ahead of the report. After the close of regular session trading on Nasdaq, the stock gained another 3.5% to $41.25 in extended trade.

The company runs a network of thousands of flat-screen TVs that display ads in stores, offices, theaters and apartment buildings.

Focus said it expects total revenue for the second quarter in a range from $103 million to $107 million, excluding $9 million in sales taxes. Analysts were looking for revenue of $90.3 million, on average, with forecasts ranging from $77.0 million to $97.9 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Second-quarter net income, excluding stock-option expenses and one-time items, is expected to range from $40 million and $41 million, or 34 cents to 35 cents per fully diluted ADS, the company said.

Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings, excluding stock options and one-time expenses, of 34 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
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