NEW YORK (
) -- Shares of Chinese education stock
New Oriental Education & Technology
are failing with investors on Friday morning after announcing preliminary results for the fiscal first quarter 2011 well short of Street estimates.
If investors had only waited one day longer. On Thursday, shares of New Oriental Education hit a 52-week high, at one point above $116 per share. On Friday morning, shares had declined in value by roughly $17 in first 45 minutes of trading -- at the open the loss was above $16. The percentage loss was roughly 15%.
New Oriental issued preliminary earnings guidance for the first fiscal quarter of 2011 of $1.64 to $1.68 per undiluted share. Analyst consensus was at $1.90 per ADS share.
New Oriental Education also came in below the Street revenue target of $195 million, estimating revenue in the first fiscal quarter of $191.4 to $192.9 million.
Michael Yu, New Oriental's CEO said in a statement, "Although we experienced disappointing student enrollment growth of approximately 8% to approximately 700,000 enrollments for the summer quarter, we managed to achieve net revenues of approximately $192 million or revenue growth of approximately 29%, within our guidance range of 26% to 32% stated in the last earnings release."
The New Oriental tried to explain the enrollment drop by adding, "There are several reasons for the enrollments shortfall. Firstly, this year's summer break for Chinese students was about a week shorter than usual due to a relatively long winter break earlier this year to accommodate a late Chinese New Year. Secondly, the Shanghai World Expo adversely affected student enrollments in our Shanghai school which experienced a 6% decrease in enrollments, compared to an 11% increase in the summer of 2009, from approximately 68,000 enrollments last summer to approximately 64,000 enrollments this summer.... Thirdly, we experienced a greater than expected decrease of 11% to approximately 110,000 in our adult English program enrollments this summer, compared to approximately 124,000 in the year ago period."
--Written by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
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