Mercadolibre Soars on Earnings Miss and Inevitable Future Growth

Michael Teague  |

Argentinian e-commerce company Mercadolibre, Inc. (MELI) saw shares rise dramatically on Tuesday over 18 percent to as high as $124.40 in midday trading.

Mercadolibre, with a market cap currently at $5.4 billion and shares up over 32 percent in 2013, runs online commerce websites throughout South and Central America. Tuesday’s stunning performance comes after the company released earnings in after hours the previous day.

During the first quarter, Mercadolibre’s net income was $17.5 million, or $0.40 per share on revenue of $102.7 million, compares to the prior-year period during which the company earned $19.64 million, or $0.45 per share on revenue of $83.75 million. Analysts had expected earnings or $0.54 per share on revenue of $97.44 million.

Adjusted earnings, however, were at $0.53 per share as the company, like so many others in the region and around the world, was affected by Venezuela’s currency devaluation back in February.

CEO Marcos Galperin explained in a press release that said that his company “saw volume accelerate across both our core marketplace and payments businesses, as we are meeting the growing demands of a quickly expanding base of users”.

Indeed, the company added 4.2 million new users during Q1 for a 23 percent year-on-year increase, while payment transactions were up 38 percent to 6.7 million.

On a conference call on Monday, CFO Pedro Arnt noted that e-commerce in Latin America constitutes only 3 percent of all retail commerce. Citing gains particularly in Argentina and Brazil, he was upbeat about Mercadolibre’s ubiquity in the relatively untapped but growing trend of online shopping in the region, saying “We are confident that our scale, brand ubiquity, and focus on offering a better shopping experience online than what consumers can find offline, will allow us to capture this shift in consumer behavior and maintain the growth rates that we are seeing for the foreseeable future.”

He also noted the company’s focus on growth through mobile devices, and the positive results that are already resulting from the shift, with record levels of buying taking place via tablets and smartphones during the first quarter.

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