You've seen plenty of Chinese companies post some amazing quarterly reports in recent weeks, fueled by the success of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. Did you hear the one about the company that blamed the historic event for its quarterly weakness?
Human resources specialist 51job
That certainly isn't what stateside investors are used to. Remember when Monster.com parent Monster Worldwide
Earnings rose by 6% to $0.15 a share, or $0.19 a share if you back out share-based compensation expenses and foreign exchange losses. The adjusted figure handily blows away Wall Street's $0.11 a share target, but there's an asterisk to this seemingly glowing net income resume. The company's bottom line was inflated by a favorable tax ruling, so it was able to get away with a pittance as an effective tax rate. In reality, 51job is going the wrong way with a 38% plunge in operating profit.
The near-term won't get any prettier. The company sees fourth-quarter results clocking in at $0.06 a share to $0.09 a share in adjusted earnings on $27.2 million to $28.7 million in revenue. That is a dip on all fronts, both sequentially and year-over-year.
So what's going on here? 51job saw its online revenue climb 6% during the third quarter, but was sandbagged by a 27% drop in print and an 18% slip in executive search. This isn't like The Knot
The upside here is that once the market digests the report and realizes that the third-quarter profits are illusory and that the guidance is weaker than Wall Street expectations, it will spit out the stock. That's when you should jump in. With $157 million in cash and just over 56 million shares outstanding, 51jobs has a debt-free balance sheet with nearly $3 a share in cash. But wait, there's more! The ADS equities that stateside investors are trading actually represent two shares of common stock -- in other words, there is nearly $6 a share in debt-free cash for every ADS.
Lower profitability is still profitability, so the huge cash cushion should limit the downside at this point. We're looking at a great chance to buy into a company with seemingly little near-term risk. Don't blow the interview.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of China's growth story but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He 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.
Stock news, financial commentary, and your daily dose of Foolishness: Get plugged in to The Motley Fool on Twitter!