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Pacific Online Limited Announces Full Year 2012 Earnings Results

March 26, 2013

HONG KONG, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Pacific Online Ltd. (HKSE: 543) (“Pacific Online,” the “Company,” or the “Group”), a leading internet content provider in China, today announced its financial results for the full year ended December 31, 2012. The Group will host a conference call to discuss these results at 9:00AM Hong Kong time on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. Dial-in details are provided at the bottom of this release.

Year Ended December 31, 2012 Financial Highlights

  • Total revenues increased 11.8% year-over-year to RMB715.6 million
  • Net profit increased 3.3% year-over-year to RMB 236.5 million
  • Proposed final cash dividend of RMB15.26 cents per ordinary share

“For the full year 2012, we are pleased to report an 11.8% increase in revenues and a rise of 3.3% in net profit,” stated Mr. Waiyan Lam, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Online Limited. “These results demonstrate the cautious, yet profitable approach we have taken to grow our business, despite the uncertain macroeconomic conditions in China, pressure from competition, and increases in operating costs.”

“PCauto, our largest vertical portal in terms of revenue, delivered revenue growth of 17.3% in 2012. The portal benefitted from the across the board increases seen in the advertising budgets of automobile manufacturers due to intensified competition in the retail market. However, we also saw increased competition from both vertical and diversified portals. Our auto business was temporarily affected during the second half of the year as a result of the dispute between the Chinese and Japanese governments. This caused a brief decrease in marketing spending by some manufacturers, though the impact was temporary as advertiser spending quickly returned to pre-dispute levels. To successfully navigate through these challenges, we worked to strengthen the quality of our content, which helped us increase user stickiness and brand equity, and remain relevant for our users.”

“PConline, our IT portal, continued its stable development in 2012 thanks in part to relatively steady advertising spending in the IT sector amid intensified competition. The political dispute between China and Japan last year also had a minor temporary impact on our IT business. We were able to marginally expand by shifting our advertising product mix to adapt to the market. With more spending coming from mobile device manufacturers and other similar areas, we will continue to devote resources to this important segment as demand for consumer electronic devices in China continues to expand in line with the rising middle class.”

“Revenue from our female-focused PClady portal increased 13.9% in 2012. As more and more women move online to research and purchase luxury and brand name products, we are devoting resources to this area in order to attract traffic from users who start their shopping experience with our portal. In addition, we have re-aligned our editorial team in order to strengthen our content, developed a variety of brand-building opportunities, and strengthened cooperation with e-commerce companies both online and offline.”

“Our other vertical portals, including PCgames, PCbaby, and PChouse, continued to improve content and attract users during 2012 as they gradually build scale. While these brands remain relatively small, their user bases remain robust and continue to grow as new features and content are added. We expect that the revenue contribution from these portals will increase in the coming years.”

“Last year, we continued to invest in the development of mobile applications for each of our vertical portals. We also launched our third free online magazine for PClady on Apple’s iPad which mirrors and expands on the content that is already available on the portal. Our online magazines generated a significant buzz in the market last year and garnered positive feedback. In particular, our PChouse magazine was named one of the Products of the Year by Apple’s Mac App store in China. With the increased viewership that we attracted in 2012 along with continued development of our brand, we believe we are bettered positioned to capture the rapidly growing mobile internet market in 2013.”

“In anticipation of the changing competitive environment, we believe that we have taken the right measures to address current and potential challenges. We are committed to our long-term strategy and will continue to invest more on marketing to increase our brand value, strengthen our management team, and improve the quality of our content to increase user stickiness. This will help to ensure the success of Pacific Online Limited over the long-term.”

Proposed Final Dividend

The Board has recommended the payment of a final cash dividend of RMB15.26 cents per ordinary share for the year ended December 31, 2012 (2011: RMB14.78 cents), subject to the shareholders’ approval at the Company’s forthcoming annual general meeting to be held on Monday, May 20, 2013. The Proposed Final Dividend will be paid in cash on June 6, 2013 to shareholders whose names appear on the register of members of the Company at the close of business on May 29, 2013.

Full year 2012 Financial Results

Revenue

Revenue increased 11.8% from RMB640.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2011 to RMB715.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2012.

In 2012, the Ministry of Finance in China launched a pilot program to gradually transition the taxation system from a business tax (“BT”) to a value- added tax (“VAT”). Pursuant to this program, the Group’s advertising revenue in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou is now fully subject to VAT. For purposes of comparison, our reported revenue growth for 2012 would have been 15.8% had the BT remained applicable to our business during the year.

Revenue for PCauto, the Group’s automobile portal, increased 17.3% from RMB293.9 million in 2011 to RMB344.6 million in 2012. According to statistics from the China Passenger Car Association, passenger car sales in China grew 6.8 percent to 14.68 million vehicles in 2012. PCauto was able to outperform car industry growth because automobile advertisers continued to allocate more of their marketing budgets to digital media.

Revenue for PConline, the Group’s IT and consumer electronics portal, increased 3.3% from RMB257.5 million in 2011 to RMB266.1 million in 2012. The increase in revenue from PConline was mainly due to the overall increase in advertising spending from IT sector customers, including smartphone and tablet manufacturers.

Revenue for PClady, the Group’s lady and fashion portal, increased 13.9% from RMB51.8 million in 2011 to RMB59.0 million in 2012. The rise in revenue mainly reflected increased demand in the women’s segment, especially for luxury and fashion goods.

Revenue for other operations, including the PCgames, PCbaby and PChouse portals, increased by 24.3% from RMB37.0 million in 2011 to RMB45.9 million in 2012. Revenue from these segments increased significantly due to advertisers increasingly look to the internet as an effective platform to promote and market their products and brands.

As a percentage of total revenue, PCauto accounted for 45.9% in 2011 and 48.2% in 2012, whereas PConline accounted for 40.2% in 2011 and 37.2% in 2012, PClady accounted for 8.1% in 2011 and 8.2% in 2012 and other operations accounted for 5.8% in 2011 and 6.4% in 2012. The Group continued to diversify its revenue base across the different industry segments.

Cost of Revenue

Cost of revenue increased 5.0% from RMB197.9 million in 2011 to RMB207.7 million in 2012. The gross profit margin was 69.1% in 2011 and 71.0% in 2012.

The slight increase in cost of revenue was due to increases in personnel related expenses, higher sales commissions and increases in branch operating expenses during the year. This was partially offset by lower business tax charges through the implementation of the business tax/value-added tax reform policy, fully applied to us in late 2012.

Selling and Marketing Costs

Selling and marketing costs increased 32.5% from RMB86.3 million in 2011 to RMB114.4 million in 2012. The increase was mainly due to increases in staff costs and marketing expenses.

Administrative Expenses

Administrative expenses increased by 37.6% from RMB48.7 million in 2011 to RMB67.1 million in 2012. The increase in administrative expenses was primarily due to increases in hiring and salary, traveling expenses and higher provisions for the impairment of trade receivables during the full year 2012.

Product Development Expenses

Product development expenses increased by 38.3% from RMB28.7 million in 2011 to RMB39.7 million in 2012. The increase was primarily due to greater staff recruitment in research and development.

Operating Profit before Share-based Compensation Expenses (non-GAAP)

Operating profit before share-based compensation expenses (non-GAAP) was RMB297.9 million in 2012, representing 3.0% increase from RMB289.2 million in 2011.

Finance Income and Cost

Net finance income was RMB5.3 million in 2011 and RMB4.7 million in 2012. The decrease in net finance income was mainly due to lower interest income on bank deposits.

Income Tax Expense

Income tax expenses increased 2.6% from RMB58.5 million in 2011 to RMB60.0 million in 2012. The increase in income tax expense was primarily due to a modest increase in operating profit during the year.

Net Profit

Net profit increased 3.3% from RMB228.9 million in 2011 to RMB236.5 million in 2012.

Liquidity and Financial Resources

As of December 31, 2012, the Group had short-term deposits and cash totaling RMB439.9 million, compared with RMB432.2 million as of December 31, 2011.

In 2012, net cash flow from operating activities was RMB199.4 million, net cash used in investing activities was RMB23.3 million, net cash used in financing activities was RMB168.0 million. The Group had a net increase in cash and cash equivalents of RMB8.1 million for the year 2012.

In 2011, net cash flow from operating activities was RMB218.2 million, net cash used in investing activities was RMB84.7 million, net cash used in financing activities was RMB134.5 million. The Group had a net increase in cash and cash equivalents of RMB168.4 million for the year 2011.

The Company had no external debt as of December 31, 2012 and 2011.

Business Outlook

Looking ahead, the Group will continue to adapt to current trends and technologies in order to ensure that it is keeping up with the changing needs of its operating environment. In view of the government’s policy on expanding domestic consumption through urbanization in the coming years, and the continual growth of the online advertising market, the Group is confident that the potential for future business opportunities remains strong. The Group is devoted to enhancing and developing the content on its existing vertical portals, and to improving its brand recognition in order to strengthen competitiveness and provide business growth potential. The Group will also continue to invest in mobile applications, with the aim of enhancing long-term shareholder value.

Conference Call

Management will host a conference call to discuss the results at 9:00 AM Hong Kong time on March 27, 2013 (9:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday, March 26, 2013). Mr. Lam Wai Yan, Chairman and CEO, and Mr. Wang Ta-Hsing, Chief Financial Officer, will discuss the results and take questions following the prepared remarks.

    The dial-in details for the live conference call are
     as follows:

            - Hong Kong Toll Free Number:       +852 3027 5500

             -Mainland China Toll Free
             Number:                              8008 0361 03

            - U.S. Toll Free Number:           +1 866 978 9970

            - International dial-in number:     +852 3027 5500

    Passcode: 928856 #

A live and archived webcast of the conference call will be available on the investor relations section of the Group’s website at: http://corp.pconline.com.cn.

A telephone replay of the call will be available for thirty days after the conclusion of the conference call. The dial-in details for the replay are as follows:

            - Hong Kong Number                  +852 3027 5520

            - U.S. Toll Free Number:           +1 866 753 0743

            - International dial-in number:     +852 3005 5520

    Passcode: 149653 #

About Pacific Online Ltd. (corp.pconline.com.cn)

Pacific Online is one of the leading Internet content providers in the PRC in terms of total advertising revenue. The Company operates six vertically-integrated portals, which, according to industry practice, are portals that focus on specific content. Among the Company’s portals are PConline, one of the largest portals in the PRC specializing in IT product-related content, and PCauto, one of the largest portals in the PRC specializing in automobile-related content.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those discussed in the press release. In addition, any projections about the Company’s future performance represent management’s estimates as of today March 26, 2013. The Company assumes no obligation to update these projections in the future as business and market conditions change.

For further information, please contact:

Pacific Online Ltd.

Hudson Wong
Company Secretary
Tel: +852 2121 0634
Email: hudson.wong@pconline.com.cn

Christensen Investor Relations

Tip Fleming
Tel: +852-9212-0684
Email: tfleming@christensenir.com

For the full financial statements, please visit the Group’s website at corp.pconline.com.cn

SOURCE Pacific Online Ltd.


Source: PR Newswire