There's still double-digit growth to be had at 51job (JOBS). The Chinese provider of Internet-based recruitment services posted better-than-expected quarterly results after Thursday's market close.
Revenue climbed 13%, to $77.2 million, for the third quarter as a 14% uptick in online recruitment services, and an 18% spike in other human resource offerings including business process outsourcing and trains services, were more than enough to offset the continuing decline in its legacy print business. 51job started out by inserting weekly job listings in dozens of regional newspapers, but it's largely a dot-com performer these days.
Net income clocked in at $0.35 a share, but that pops up to $0.41 a share after backing out stock-based compensation expenses, a hit on the foreign currency translation, and a change in fair value of its convertible notes.
51job's showing exceeded its earlier guidance on both ends of the income statement. It also landed ahead of Wall Street pros, who were holding out for an adjusted profit of just $0.36 a share on $73.3 million in revenue. This is the fourth quarter in a row in which 51job beats analyst profit targets.
51job's growth has slowed, but it's important to remember that a Chinawide VAT policy change went into effect in June, suppressing reported revenue. A 6% VAT policy change on online recruitment services was the primary reason for average revenue per unique employer to dip by nearly 5%, holding back the applause-worthy accomplishment of growing its unique employers by 19.4%, to 283,651, during the past year.
The outlook is encouraging. 51job is eyeing $83.9 million to $86.3 million in revenue for the fourth quarter with adjusted earnings of $0.42 a share to $0.46 a share. Analysts were only modeling a profit of $0.40 a share on $78.6 million in revenue. With 51job consistently topping its guidance in recent quarters, it wouldn't be a surprise if it's being conservative, yet again.
This isn't online recruitment's shiniest hour. Two days before 51job's report, we saw industry bellwether Monster Worldwide (MWW) post uninspiring quarterly results. Revenue inched lower, with its international operations taking a bigger hit than its domestic slide. Adjusted profitability was roughly cut in half at Monster. The stock rallied -- the market was holding out for an even smaller profit and applauded the departure of its CEO -- but 51job is bucking that malaise. It's getting the job done in China, and the same can't be said of its larger stateside peer.