Despite investors’ concerns over a slowing online advertising market in China, Sina managed to post Q4 revenue that exceeded analysts’ expectations, though its earnings fell 74 percent from a year earlier. Investors were encouraged by Sina’s results, however, and the company’s shares jumped as much as 6 percent after hours, hitting $56.50. Sina’s stock price has dropped 13.4 percent since the beginning of the fourth quarter, falling alongside the shares of peers like Baidu and Sohu.com due to a weaker economy.
Sina reported overall Q4 net revenue was $139.1 million, outperforming Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S’ average forecast for $133.9 million. Non-advertising revenue slipped 4 percent to $28.5 million.
Net profit fell 74 percent in the Q4 to $2.4 million, or 3 cents per share, from $9.3 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier, though excluding certain items, non-GAAP earnings were $9 million, or 13 cents a share, compared to $14 million or 21 cents a share a year earlier. That was much better than analysts’ average forecast for 5 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sina’s guidance for Q1 adjusted net revenue is in the range between $115 million and $119 million, in line with Wall Street’s expectations for $117 million. It expects advertising revenue of $94 million to $96 million this quarter. Advertising revenue in Q4 was $110.7 million, exceeding the company’s previous projection for between $110 million and $112 million.
The company also announced new management appointments, including the promotion of its chief operating officer Hong Du to COO and co-president, and the naming of Jack Xu to the position of chief technology officer and co-president. Last December, Sina CEO Charles Chao said that Du will focus on running Sina’s Web portal while reporting directly to him.
Before starting at Sina, Xu was corporate vice president of the communications and collaboration business unit at Cisco. His prior positions also include stints as vice president of engineering and research at eBay and CTO at Netease. In a statement, Chao said, “With these management appointments, I believe Sina will be able to compete in China’s online advertising, social networking and mobile Internet spaces with even greater focus and agility.”