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Profit Improves at Audible

First-quarter revenue rises 91%.
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Audible (ADBL) increased its first-quarter profit -- beating analysts' expectations -- as revenue rose 91%.

In addition, the company raised its full-year revenue expectations well above the current Wall Street consensus.

Those pieces of news were enough to spark the stock in after-hours trading Monday; shares were recently up $1.74, or 12.2%, to $16.02.

For the quarter ended March 31, the provider of digital audio content said it earned $889,391, or 3 cents a share, compared with income of nearly $58,000 a year earlier. (The company's year-ago loss per share of 56 cents reflected a preferred share payout of $10.5 million.)

Revenue rose to $12.9 million from $6.77 million a year ago.

A survey of analysts by Thomson First Call had produced an average estimate of break-even earnings per share on revenue of $12 million.

Audible said that first-quarter new customers, a combination of new AudibleListener members and individual title purchasers, totaled a record 72,000, up 121% from the first quarter a year ago.

The company raised full-year revenue guidance for 2005 to $62 million to $65 million, which represents 80% to 89% year-over-year revenue growth, up from prior guidance of $59 million to $62 million. Analysts had been expecting full-year revenue of $59.4 million.

Audible maintained guidance for full-year profit before income taxes of $3.6 million to $4 million, excluding the previously announced $2 million in expenses related to the launch of Audible UK and before deducting any charges related to restricted stock awards.

Audible also maintained guidance for capital expenditures and free cash flow: Capital expenditures in information technology infrastructure are expected to be in the range of $2.7 to $3.3 million. Free cash flow for 2005 is expected to be in the range of $1.6 million to $2 million.