What happened

Shares of MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI) were surging again today after the Latin American e-commerce company delivered another round of blowout results in its first-quarter earnings report, crushing revenue and earnings estimates. As of 11:01 a.m. EDT, the stock was up 18%.

So what

MercadoLibre's MercadoPago payment platform drove the strong performance in the quarter as revenue jumped 47.6%, or 92% in constant currency, to $473.8 million, which was well ahead of the analyst consensus at $416 million. A stronger dollar and a currency crisis in Argentina explain the gap between reported and currency-neutral sales.

MercadoLibre's bottom-line result increased from a loss of $0.29 in the quarter a year ago to a profit of $0.13, also breezing past expectations of a loss of $0.13. 

A person holding a phone that displays a shopping cart and a Pay Now button.

Image source: Getty Images.

Total payment volume from MercadoPago jumped 82.5% in constant currency, or 35% in reported dollars, to $5.6 billion, driven by growth off the MercadoLibre platform of 119% in reported dollars. Total transactions increased 94% to 143.9 million. 

In its marketplace, what's generally seen as MercadoLibre's core business, currency-neutral gross merchandise volume rose 26.6% but fell 1.7% in constant dollars to $3.1 billion. That growth still marked an acceleration from the segment's fourth-quarter result.  

CFO Pedro Arnt summed up the performance, saying:

I am very pleased with the results we delivered this quarter. It is encouraging to enter the new year with continued momentum in our business and to see our strategy delivering on multiple fronts in a sustainable manner. Our Marketplace business showed great resiliency, our Payments business is gaining traction in its online to offline efforts, and our Shipping efforts continue growing the size of our managed network.

Now what

The emergence of MercadoPago is an encouraging sign for investors, especially its use off MercadoLibre, as payment platforms tend to be high-margin businesses. The platform also seems to be driving growth in Mexico and Brazil, where constant-currency revenue has accelerated dramatically over the last year.    

With today's gains, MercadoLibre shares have nearly doubled this year following strong results in its fourth-quarter report. The company is continuing to reap the rewards of being Latin America's dominant e-commerce platform, and the growth of MercadoPago indicates a bright future ahead for the business and its investors.