Why NII Shares Tanked

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of NII Holdings (NASDAQOTH: NIHDQ  ) have declined by more than 8% today after the company reported earnings that significantly underperformed analyst expectations.

So what: NII's fourth-quarter revenue was $1.47 billion, slightly below the analyst consensus of $1.5 billion. That result was an 8% decline year-over-year, but it wasn't the worst part of this report. NII's net loss of $3.45 per share was far, far below the $1.21 loss analysts expected. Only about half of that loss was attributed to a writedown on the company's assets in Chile, which means that there just isn't any way to excuse this quarter's performance. It was just awful, and would have been below analyst expectations even without the writedown. The only bright spot -- if you can call it that -- was a tiny uptick of just 2,000 customers for the quarter.

Now what: NII is a small fish in a big pond, and it's showing. The company now has 11.4 million subscribers as of the end of 2012, but that's just a 6% increase from the prior year, and is clearly not enough to generate a profit. Analysts now expect a $0.58 loss per share for the first quarter and a $1.82 loss per share for 2013. It's going to be a long time before NII becomes profitable -- if that will ever happen. Best to stay on the sidelines for now.

Want more news and updates? Add NII Holdings to your watchlist now.

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