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(2nd LD) Naver earnings up 9.1 pct in Q4

All News 15:10 January 28, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES share price)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Naver Corp., South Korea's top Internet portal operator, said Thursday its fourth-quarter earnings advanced 9.1 percent on-year on the back of strong overseas business.

Net profit came to 141.5 billion won (US$118 million) in the October-December period, compared with the 129.6 billion won a year earlier, Naver said in a regulatory filing.

Sales soared 19.2 percent to 890 billion won, with operating profit moving up 5 percent to 203.6 billion won.

For all of 2015, net profit came to 517 billion won, up 14.4 percent from a year earlier. Its revenue jumped 17.9 percent on-year to 3.25 trillion won, while the operating profit edged up 0.5 percent to 762.2 billion won.

The annual results came in line with the market consensus. Local brokerage houses estimated an operating profit of 784.2 billion won, along with sales of 3.24 trillion won.

It marked the first time for the annual sales to hover above the 3 trillion-won mark.

Naver said the on-year growth is attributable to the expansion of its business overseas. Sales from abroad accounted for 33 percent of its 2015 earnings, marking a record-high level.

By segment, advertisements accounted for 646.9 billion won of fourth-quarter sales, followed by its content business with 217.3 billion won. Naver added that mobile platforms accounted for 56 percent of its sales, while PCs held the remaining 44 percent.

Naver said the sales from its ads business soared 19.7 percent on-year on the back of the robust performance in the mobile platforms.

While sales from domestic-oriented advertisements moved up 15.2 percent on-year, that of the overseas segment jumped 53 percent over the cited period, especially led by the LINE messenger.

The content business also saw its sales move up 13 percent on-year, with mobile platforms accounting for 93 percent. The Internet giant also raked in 25.9 billion won on the back of its emoji franchise.

Shares of Naver plunged 6.38 percent to 631,000 won on Thursday, when the market advanced 0.48 percent. The fourth-quarter earnings report was released before the market opened.

colin@yna.co.kr
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