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MercadoLibre Profit Rises 40% - Update

E-commerce technology company MercadoLibre Inc. (MELI), Monday reported a 40 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit, on revenue growth across all regions, especially Argentina and Venezuela. The company's quarterly earnings topped Street estimates, as did revenues.

CEO Marcos Galperin said, "Our sustained investment in this platform will remain crucial going forward: having accelerated our pace of innovation, it allows us to constantly improve upon the buying and selling experience that we offer our users..."

Shares of the company gained about four percent in after-hours trade on the Nasdaq.

MercadoLibre hosts online commerce platforms in Latin America. Through its primary platforms, MercadoLibre.com and MercadoPago.com, the company provides solutions to individuals and companies buying, selling, advertising, and paying for goods and services online.

The Argentina-based company reported fourth-quarter net income of $30 million or $0.69 per share, compared with $21.6 million or $0.47 per share a year ago.

On average, 9 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.61 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Revenues for the quarter grew 20 percent to $103.8 million from $86.5 million last year. Analysts on consensus estimated revenues of $105.27 million for the quarter.

During the quarter, gross merchandise volume grew 13.6 percent from last year, while total payment volume was up 30.5 percent. Items sold on MercadoLibre increased 19.5 percent from the prior year, while total payments transactions through MercadoPago increased 42.6 percent.

Gross margin for the quarter dropped to 73.6 percent, compared with 76 a year ago, impacted by growth in the lower margin payment business.

MercadoLibre closed Monday at $84.56, down 0.66%, on a volume of about 1 million shares. In after hours, the stock gained $3.34 or 3.95%. In the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $64.18 - $104.50.

by RTT Staff Writer

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