51job, Inc. ( JOBS)

Q1 2011 Earnings Call

May 5, 2011 09:00 PM ET

Executives

Linda Chien – Assistant VP, IR

Rick Yan – President and CEO

Kathleen Chien – Acting CFO and COO

Analysts

Alicia Yap – Citigroup

Wendy Huang – Royal Bank of Scotland

Jenny Wu – Morgan Stanley

Justin Diddams – Citigroup

Presentation

Operator

Good morning and good evening ladies and gentlemen thank you for holding. Welcome to the 51job, Incorporated first quarter 2011 conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the presentation there will be an opportunity to ask questions (Operator Instructions). I will now hand the conference over to Ms. Linda Chien, Assistant Vice President of Investor Relations. Thank you, Madam. Please go ahead.

Linda Chien

Thank you all for attending this teleconference to discuss un-audited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011. With me for today’s call are Rick Yan, Chief Executive Officer and Kathleen Chien, Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Financial Officer. A press release containing first quarter 2011 results was issued earlier today and a copy may be obtained through our website at ir.51job.com.

Before we begin, I would like to remind you that during this call, statements regarding targets for the second quarter of 2011, future business and operating results constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as amended and as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

These statements are based upon management’s current expectation and actual results could differ materially. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ are the number of recruitment advertisements placed, sales orders received and customer contracts executed during the remaining weeks of the second quarter of 2011, any accounting adjustments that may occur during the quarterly close; fluctuations in the value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currency; behavioral and operational changes of customers in meeting their human resource needs as they respond to evolving social, economic and political changes in China as well as stock market volatilities; introduction by competitors of new or enhanced products or services; price competition in the market for the various human resource services that the company provides in China; acceptance of new products and services developed or introduced by the company outside of the human resources industry and fluctuations in general economic conditions.

For additional information on these and other factors that may affect the company’s financial results, please refer to the risk factor section of the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 51job undertakes no obligation to update targets prior to announcing final results for the second quarter of 2011 or as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Now I’ll turn the call over to Rick.

Rick Yan

Thank you, Linda. And welcome to today’s call. I will begin with highlights of the first quarter, followed by Kathleen with her detailed review of our financial results. I will then discuss current market conditions and recent developments. Finally, we’ll open the call to your questions.

Results for the first quarter came in ahead of guidance as the positive economic climate and robust hiring activity in China throughout demand for our services. We reported total revenues of RMB 325 million or approximately $50 million, an increase of 28% over the first quarter of 2010. We saw solid revenue growth in each business area. The momentum of our online services business remained strong with online revenues increasing 57% year over year.

We have employers across all geographies utilizing our established sales office network to further penetrate existing markets and our Wuhan call center to serve employers in new cities. This two pronged approach has enabled us to acquire new customers more effectively and efficiently than ever. Our print advertising business also performed well in the first quarter. Although, we have discontinued publications in six cities since the beginning of 2010 through the first quarter of 2011; print revenues were better than expected and decreased by 6% due to the exceptionally strong seasonal demand in the post Chinese New Year period.

In our other HR services business we make steady progress in continuing to gain customer attraction. Revenues for the other HR services increased 25% led by growth in outsourcing and training services. While we are very pleased with our top line the greater accomplishment of the first quarter was the meaningful margin expansion that resulted from the revenue of the performance. The record margin efforts highlight the powerful economies of scale and scope we have built into our service model.

Through unrelenting operational discipline and a consistent focus on efficiency improvement which drove gross margin to 70% and operating margin to 35% despite absorbing higher employee compensation expenses and investing in product development and technology innovation. Since our inception 13 years ago we have not wavered from our guiding management principle to realize sustainable profitable growth for our shareholders. We believe this first quarter financial results reflect our continued progress towards this goal.

I would now turn over the call to Kathleen for more detailed financial review.

Kathleen Chien

Thank you, Rick. Revenues for the first quarter totaled RMB325 million, a 28% increase compared to the same quarter in 2010. Our online revenues for the first quarter were RMB173 million, an increase of 57% compared to the same quarter in 2010. The number of unique employers using our online services increased 38% year over year to nearly 155,000 companies in the first quarter due to the strong market demand and our customer acquisition efforts. We also saw a 14% increase in the average revenue per online customer compared to the year ago quarter as employers faced greater competition for talent and thus purchase more services to meet their recruitment targets.

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