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51job Shares Rise 8% On Strong Outlook; Q4 Profit Surges

Shares of 51job, Inc. (JOBS) rose over 8 percent in extended trading on Thursday after the Chinese integrated human resource services company provided earnings and revenue outlook for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, above Street view. The company also reported a profit for the fourth quarter that surged from last year, reflecting improved margins and strong double-digit revenue growth.

"Driven by continued strength in our online business and increasing contribution from our other HR services, we ended the year on a high note with record revenues and net income in the fourth quarter," President and CEO Rick Yan said in a statement.

The Shanghai, China-based company reported net income of 113.93 million yuan or $18.10 million for the fourth quarter, higher than 66.95 million yuan in the prior-year quarter. Earnings per share grew to 1.93 yuan or $0.31 from 1.14 yuan a year earlier.

On American Depository share basis, earnings increased to 3.87 yuan or $0.61 from 2.28 yuan last year.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the quarter surged to 125.80 million yuan or $19.99 million from 74.66 million yuan in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings per share grew to 2.14 yuan or $0.34 from 1.27 yuan a year earlier.

On American Depository share basis, adjusted earnings increased to 4.27 yuan or $0.68 from 2.54 yuan last year.

Total revenues for the quarter increased 22.6 percent to 369.83 million yuan or $58.76 million from 301.70 million yuan in the same quarter last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.53 per share on revenues of $54.50 million for the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Online recruitment services revenues surged 39.1 percent, and other human resource related revenues increased 33.3 percent, while print advertising revenues decreased 47.1 percent from last year.

Operating margin expanded 460 basis points to 31.8 percent from last year, as gross margin improved 580 basis points, but operating expenses as a percentage of net revenues increased 130 basis points.

Looking ahead to the first quarter, the company projects adjusted earnings in a range of 2.05 to 2.20 yuan per share or $0.65 to $0.70 per ADS, on projected revenues between 375 million yuan and 390 million yuan, or $59.6 million and $62.0 million.

Street is currently looking for first-quarter earnings of $0.61 per share on revenues of $56.40 million.

"In 2012, we are moving ahead confidently in executing our growth plan and key initiatives focused on product innovation, new customer acquisition and geographic expansion," Yan added.

JOBS closed Thursday's regular trading session at $44.22, up $0.22 or 0.49% on a volume of 61,797 shares. The stock gained a further $3.78 or 8.36% in after-hours trading.

by RTT Staff Writer

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