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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 23:57 GMT
Investors snub Ebay profits rise
Ebay logo
Ebay shares fell 5% in after hours trading as investors turned their noses up at the popular internet auction site's strong Christmas trading figures and ignored predictions of strong growth in 2002.

It was a good quarter, but it wasn't a wild blowout

Lanny Baker
Salomon Smith Barney
Ebay notched up after-tax profits of $25.9m, during the last three months of 2001, up from $23.9m during the same period a year earlier.

The 9% rise in profits was accompanied by a 64% rise in earnings.

Five million people visited the website every day during December, and the number of registered users almost doubled to 42.4m from a year earlier.

"2001 was really a watershed year for the company; it was outstanding in every measure," said Ebay's chief financial officer, Rajiv Dutta.

Bright future

Ebay, which puts private buyers in touch with sellers on the web, is a rare internet success story.

The company has now made a profit for the last 13 consecutive three-month periods.

Looking ahead, "all aspects of this business are growing really rapidly", he said, noting that its international operations were now in the black, several month earlier than predicted.

"There was a lot of concern out there that e-commerce was slowing. That doesn't appear to be the case at all here," said Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown analyst Jeetil Patel.

Ebay has experienced "pretty phenomenal growth in the light of recent events and the economy", he said.

And yet, the markets shaved $3.38 off the company's share price, reducing its stock value to $60.64.

"People were probably hoping for a wild blowout," said Salomon Smith Barney analyst Lanny Baker.

"It was a good quarter, but it wasn't a wild blowout."

See also:

17 Dec 01 | Business
Ebay loses chief operating officer
31 Jul 01 | Business
Ebay sues fellow auction web site
19 Apr 01 | Business
eBay results cheer tech sector
19 Jan 01 | Business
eBay profits surge
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