Monster posts $194.2M loss; China unit on block

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Monster Worldwide Inc. on Thursday reported a $194.2 million third-quarter loss and said it plans to slash costs and restructure its operations, including selling its Chinese unit.

But the New York-based online job-search company's adjusted profit beat Wall Street predictions and it issued a strong profit outlook for the current quarter and full year, and its shares shot up 17 percent in morning trading.

Monster said the restructuring will focus its resources on its core businesses in North America and key European and Asian markets, in hopes of boosting overall profitability.

As part of the restructuring, Monster said it's putting its ChinaHR business up for sale and looking at its options for its operations in developing markets in order to cut its losses there.

Monster said it also will continue and speed up its spending on marketing and sales in its core markets, while reducing its overall expenses. The company said the moves are expected to save it a combined $130 million a year. It also expects to take fourth-quarter pre-tax charges of $50 million to $60 million.

For the third quarter, Monster said its loss amounted to $1.75 per share, compared with a year-ago profit of $31.8 million, or 26 cents per share. A 9 percent reduction in the number of outstanding shares drove up the size of the loss per share by about 18 cents.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted an adjusted profit from continuing operations of 9 cents per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue fell 11 percent to $221.7 million from $248.6 million.

Analysts, on average, expected adjusted profit of 5 cents per share on $234 million in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.

Monster said its North American bookings, excluding government-related ones, rose during the recent quarter, while bookings in Europe and Asia were hurt by tough economic conditions in those markets.

The company projected a fourth-quarter profit from continuing operations of between 5 cents and 10 cents per share and full-year earnings from continuing operations of 29 cents to 34 cents per share.

Analysts expect a fourth-quarter profit of 5 cents per share, with estimates ranging from 1 cent to 8 cents per share. Wall Street projects full-year profit of 20 cents per share, with estimates from 16 cents to 22 cents.

Monster shares rose $1, or 17.4 percent, to $6.71 in morning trading. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $5.69 and $10.40. The stock closed Wednesday down about 28 percent since the start of the year.