Shares of MercadoLibre Inc. (MELI 2.59%) were moving higher today after the Latin American e-commerce marketplace reported a strong second-quarter earnings report and continued to put up rapid top-line growth. As of 1:41 p.m. EDT, the stock was up 12.4%.
The online marketplace said revenue jumped 43.7% on a currency-neutral basis to $335.4 million, beating estimates of $331.8 million. Gross merchandise volume rose 35.9% on a currency-neutral basis to $5.1 billion as the number of items sold were up 38.8% to 85.4 million, indicating that the platform continues to attract new buyers and sellers and that the runway remains strong.
Unique buyers grew by 16%, following a 28% uptick in the first quarter, as a Brazilian trucker strike weighed on shipping and e-commerce capabilities and due to a price hike from a major postal provider. Gross margin in the period fell from 60.4% to 47.6%, but that was due to a strategic decision to increase free shipping subsidies, which helps top-line growth but adds costs.
On the bottom line, MercadoLibre reported a loss of $0.25 per share, which was worse than expectations of $0.21 and down from a profit of $0.12, due in part the company's strategic shift and embrace of free shipping.
"The outlook for our industry is as positive as ever, and our investment thesis remains intact," said CEO Pedro Arnt. "The internet is rapidly becoming a driving force that is increasing the pace of modernization in Latin America."
MercadoLibre did not issue guidance for the current quarter or full year, but investors were clearly pleased with another round of strong revenue growth. Many investors see MercadoLibre as sort of Latin American Amazon.com. The company has growth opportunities in its payment platform Mercado Pago and its e-commerce marketplace in the huge Latin American market.