They're hiring in China. You probably know that. Robust economies growing at 10% a year have a funny way of stimulating the creation of jobs and encouraging the workforce to aim higher. So it's no surprise to see 51job
Last night's second-quarter report bears that out. Revenues climbed 21% to $27.6 million. Earnings inched 20% higher to $0.14 per ADS -- $0.20 per ADS, if you back out stock-based compensation and a currency-related adjustment.
The company's online recruitment business remains 51job's fastest-growing component, now accounting for 34% of revenues. So why didn't the bottom line outpace the top line, given the high margins to be had in cyberspace?
In a sense, it did. Operating income actually soared 46%. At that point, a steeper foreign currency loss adjustment and a nearly 50% spike in 51job's tax bill ate into the numbers. In short, it was a great quarter.
51job isn't perfect, though. The company expects a sequential lull in the current period. It's guiding investors to expect an adjusted profit per ADS of $0.14 to $0.17, on $26.9 million to $28.2 million in revenue.
That's not great, but it's hard to let that weigh too heavily upon the long-term upside. This is still a growing market. China Career Builder (OTC BB: CCBX.PK) is starting to make some waves, yet we're still talking about a country with 1.3 billion residents. We have less than a quarter of that amount here, and no one is wondering whether Monster Worldwide
Trading at 33 times this year's profit target, 51job isn't the screaming bargain that it used to be, but it's still an intriguing play into a growing segment within a very hot market. In short, 51job is getting the job done.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes in Chinese growth stocks, but he does not own shares in any of the stocks 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's disclosure policy speaks perfect Mandarin.