China's leisure-seeking kids aren't tiring of multiplayer Internet games. Perfect World
Revenue soared by 55% to $86.4 million in the third quarter. Earnings climbed by 45% to $0.81 a share, or $0.86 a share on a non-GAAP basis. Analysts were banking on a profit of just $0.75 a share on an $82.4 million top line.
Perfect World's foray into film -- with August's release of Sophie's Revenge -- padded revenue by $6.6 million and gross profit by $2.6 million. Even if one argues that some Wall Street pros may have not factored the company's cinematic debut into their models, the lower-margin endeavor relative to its bread-and-butter online-gaming business shouldn't take away from Perfect World's bottom line blowout.
The rapidly growing gaming specialist has now soundly beaten analyst profit targets in seven of its first nine quarters as a public company.
Perfect World also has global aspirations. It has recently landed licensing partners for its games in Vietnam and Russia. It's also launching one of its titles in Thailand.
The Beijing company is projecting revenue for the current quarter to come in sequentially flat, though 38% to 44% higher on a year-over-year basis. Analysts are already perched on the high end of that range, though it won't have a film to market this time around. That difference should help improve margins during the period and make it easy to once again land ahead of Wall Street's income estimates of $0.79 a share.
The industry has had its challenges recently. NetEase.com's
Thankfully for investors, a lot of the uncertainty is already priced into these admittedly risky shares. Despite their heady growth, Perfect World and rival Changyou.com
The fears are real, but the Chinese government has been clamping down for nearly three years, and the leading companies have still managed to grow nicely as they learn to color within the ever-changing lines.
Skeptics may want to heed the lesson that Pali Research learned over the weekend. Arguing that Perfect World expects profits next year that fall below the consensus estimates, it downgraded Perfect World on Friday. "In the short term, we do not expect any surprises," went Pali's note.
A trading day later -- surprise!
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