Baidu Announces Strong Q4 and FY 2012 Results

On Monday, Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU  ) released its unaudited financial results from the fourth quarter and fiscal year ending Dec. 31, and the numbers came in strong despite a challenging macro environment in 2012. Still, Baidu's quarterly and yearly earnings per share were in line with analyst estimates, and the company saw its content and acquisition costs increase. Shares are down about 5% in after-market trading.

For Q4, year-over-year numbers were up 41.6% for total revenue, which came in at $1.017 billion. Operating profit rose 24% to $457.1 million, and net income climbed 36.1% to $448.7 million in net income. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter amounted to $1.28, while analysts estimated $1.29. Content and acquisition costs were RMB120.3 million ($19.3 million) and RMB606.8 million ($97.4 million), respectively. Compared to the corresponding period in 2011, content costs increased from 0.6% to 1.9% of total revenues. Acquisition costs increased from 7.9% to 9.6% of total revenues.

For the fiscal year, Baidu claimed $3.580 billion in revenue, a 53.8% leap over fiscal 2011. Operating profit was up 45.9% to $1.774 billion, and net income climbed 57.5% to also finish at $1.774 billion in net income. Total diluted EPS for the year were $4.79, while analysts estimates were $4.77. Content and acquisition costs were RMB215.1 million ($34.5 million) and RMB1.930 billion ($309.8 million), respectively. Compared to 2011, content costs increased from 0.5% to 1% of total revenues. Acquisition costs increased from 8% to 8.7% of total revenues.

"We made encouraging progress in 2012, integrating Baidu's superior search and search-related products and functions, like maps and image recognition, into our offering," Chairman and CEO Robin Li said. "In 2013 we will continue to enhance functionality, introduce new products, and step up efforts to push our products to users."

CFO Jennifer Li added:

Revenue growth and profitability maintained a healthy trajectory in 2012 as we continued to invest aggressively in developing a comprehensive ecosystem. In December, we completed the iQiyi deal and consolidated its financials in our fourth quarter results. In 2013, we'll be both stepping up our investments and increasing sales and marketing efforts to ensure Baidu captures the huge opportunities ahead.

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