Twitter Reports Better Than Expected Q4 Profit, Weak User Growth

Following the bell today, Twitter released its fourth-quarter earnings report, revealing that it earned $0.12 per share on an adjusted basis on revenue of $479 million during the period. The company’s per-share profit is based on adjusted net income of $79 million.

The street had expected Twitter to earn an adjusted $0.06 per share on revenue of $453.14 million. Twitter’s shares initially dipped following its earnings beat, but have since recovered and are currently up more than 3 percent in after-hours trading.

The company also reported that its tally of monthly active users rose to 288 million, up from a sequentially preceding count of 284 million. The figure is up 20 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Twitter has performed strongly in financial terms since its initial debut, but has struggled to grow its core, monthly active user base quickly enough to satiate some investors. The company contends that it has wider reach through various extra-company channels that it can monetize, as well. Twitter’s modest core user growth, however, has weighed on its stock at various moments in its public history.

Using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Twitter lost $125 million in the quarter. In the year-ago quarter, Twitter lost $511 million on a GAAP basis. The company ended its fourth quarter with cash and equivalents of $3.6 billion.

For the full year, Twitter had revenue of $1.403 billion (up 11 percent), adjusted net income of $101 million, and a GAAP operating loss of $578 million.

Looking ahead, Twitter expects to bring in $440 million to $450 million in revenue during the current, first quarter of 2015. Analysts expect the company to earn an adjusted $0.04 per share on revenue of $449.68 million during the three-month period.

Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo has recently come under public fire for a leadership performance that some find middling. Today’s report from the company continues its past narrative: Big financial results but slowing global user growth. Long-term cash flows, of course, are dependent on the latter picking up steam. Still, the profit and revenue figures will likely give Costolo a little room to breathe.