eBay Slightly Beats Expectations

Online trading community eBay Inc. Thursday surpassed Wall Street’s forecasts for its third quarter by one cent per share.

The company reported consolidated net income of $15.2 million, five cents per share on a diluted basis. According to a survey by First Call/Thompson Financial, analysts had predicted net income of four cents per share.

The company said its consolidated net revenues were $113.4 million for the quarter, and increase of 93.8 percent over the $58.5 million it reported for the same period last year.

“eBay delivered record revenues, profits, new users and commerce this quarter,” said Meg Whitman, president and chief executive officer of eBay. “These results underscore the long-term power of the platform and our global community.”

The company said it hosted 68.5 million auctions during the quarter, up from 36.2 million in the third quarter last year. That added up to a banner $1.4 billion in gross merchandise sales, an 83 percent increase over the same period last year. The company also attracted more registered users. At quarter’s end, the total stood at 18.9 million registered users, an increase of 146 percent from last year’s third quarter.

Unsurprisingly, the company said the core driver behind the increases was increased on-line revenue, stemming from eBay’s core business and traction in new initiatives like automobiles and the international space, as well as increasing monetization of the site.

While the company said its product development cost increased due to an investment in engineering talent for both its Half.com and eBay, it also said that general and administrative costs decreased due to efficiencies in personnel and outside professional service costs, as well as recovery of legal expenses from a settlement. Sales and marketing cost decreased slightly as a percentage of revenue.

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