Bulls that bid up shares of Rediff.com
Shares opened lower this morning after a bland fiscal third quarter report. Revenue climbed 25% to $5.9 million. The spurt itself may seem impressive, but this is the same company that posted $8.5 million in revenue during the same period in 2007. In other words, revenue has actually fallen by 31% over the past three years.
It doesn't get any better on the way down to the bottom line. Rediff posting a loss isn't much of a surprise. It's been a few years since the Mumbai-based company has been profitable. However, it has to be troubling to see the portal's quarterly deficit actually widen to $0.065 a share this time. Gross margins improved, but a sharp spike in operating expenses as Rediff invests in its portal put the "red" in Rediff.
I saw this coming when I made Rediff the subject of last week's "Throw This Stock Away" column. A reader asked why I was trashing a stock the week before its earnings report, and I explained exactly why I was doing it.
"Why wait for AFTER the earnings report," I asked rhetorically. "What do you think we'll be getting? Maybe revenue gets up to $2 million a month, so we get up to $6 million. Operating expenses and REDF's committment to spending $1 to $1.5 million a quarter in R&D will add up to another loss. What do you think happens to a stock that has seen its market cap go from below $100 million to $250 million in four weeks when it bumps up against a ho-hum report?"
The stock went on to tumble 20% in the past four trading days, so the silver lining here is that a lot of the euphoria had been squeezed out of the stock. A few minutes into today's trading day, the stock made up the dip at the opening.
Investors are still too early. Rediff's cash balance is being pecked at, and profitability isn't getting any closer.
India is no China, but that doesn't mean investors have to avoid the world's second most populous nation. If anything, now may be a good time to buy into the country. India's commitment to beefing up connectivity may pay off for Rediff in a few years, but there are better positioned companies to ride that trend today. Leading travel site MakeMyTrip
Betting on the Indian consumer also doesn't have to wait for the Internet revolution to take off. What's wrong with value-priced carmaker Tata Motors
If an investor insists on riding a portal in India, why Rediff? It remains a small player in the country. Google
Wait until Rediff is profitable. At the very least, wait for Rediff to become the company it was three years ago.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz relishes unearthing international growth stock opportunities, but Rediff isn't one of them. He does not own any of the stocks 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.