Sohu Web portal profits up 383%
Company sees 2008 strengtheningBEIJING -- Chinese media company Sohu.com posted a nearly fivefold surge in quarterly profit on Monday that exceeded analysts' forecasts, and the company predicted stronger results for the rest of the year.
First-quarter net income for the Beijing-based company rose to $21.6 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, from $4.5 million, or 12 cents a diluted share, in the year-earlier quarter.
Analysts had forecast a profit, on average, of $14.4 million, according to Reuters Estimates. The company had projected first-quarter earnings per share of 43 cents-45 cents.
Total revenue grew 156% to $84.8 million, fuelled by growth in online brand advertising and spending by corporate marketers ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
Reported revenue compares with the $69.3 million, on average, analysts had predicted, according to Reuters Estimates. Ad revenue rose 36% to $34.8 million, while non-advertising revenue, largely from gaming, totaled $50.1 million, it said.
"Looking ahead at the remainder of 2008, we believe the growth of our brand advertising business will be even stronger," Sohu Co-President Belinda Wang said in a statement. The bullish outlook reflects rising Olympic ad spending and Sohu's growing penetration in the online market, she said.
Sohu forecast second-quarter revenue of $93 million to $96 million. Analysts predicted revenue, on average of $77.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
Ad sales, virtually all of from brand advertising, are expected to reach $40 million to $41 million and non-advertising revenue, mostly from gaming, should rise to $53 million to $55 million, the company said.