If you're in China, it's hard to avoid the handiwork of advertising giant Focus Media
Investors may find it hard to avoid Focus Media, too. The company came through with better-than-expected results last night. Total revenue soared 75% to $58.1 million for the first quarter. Earnings per ADS, after backing out amortization-related charges and stock-based compensation items, soared from $0.13 to $0.21. Analysts expected a profit of $0.19 a share on revenues of $55.4 million.
If pumping ads into movie theaters and video monitors seems like a low-margin business, think again. Net margin on an adjusted basis clocked in at a jaw-dropping 39.1%. Even if you tack on the dead weight of stock-based compensation and amortization expenses, net margin would still have reached an impressive 28.1%. How many old-school companies are milking even $0.28 from every dollar they make, all the way down to the bottom line?
China can be kind in that sense. Low overhead and attractive taxation make strong businesses even stronger. Nimbler companies like NetEase.com
Sure, its results were a sequential dip from last year's final quarter, but this is a seasonal business. The Chinese New Year, wedged in the middle of the first quarter, slows things down dramatically, before kicking up in earnest in the current quarter.
Focus Media expects to earn between $0.34 to $0.35 per ADS, on total revenue between $103 million and $107 million. That guidance is comfortably ahead of Wall Street's current estimates.
Don't worry about Focus Media and its old-school advertising ways. The company completed its purchase of leading online advertising specialist Allyes back in March. That should keep growth humming along at Focus Media, even before we begin to ponder the pending jackpot of next year's Beijing Olympics.
The crowds flocking to China's capital for those games won't be able to avoid running into Focus Media, either. Lucky you -- you have a chance to bump into the company now.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to mainland China just once, but he's longing to brush up on Mandarin and return in the future. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.