Bitauto Says Fourth Quarter Revenue Jumped 25%; Losses Shrink
The shares of Bitauto Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: BITA) rose today as the Beijing-based company, a leading provider of internet content and marketing services, reported a 25.2 percent increase in revenue in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, the company, which operates as Yixin, said its net loss narrowed 50 percent year-over-year to $57.9 million, or 78 cents per American depositary share. Revenue increased to $169.1 million for the three months.
The improved result in revenue was attributable to the growth in Bitauto's transaction services, advertising and subscription, and digital marketing solutions businesses.
Cost of revenue for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $207.7 million, an increase of 52 percent from the same period in 2017. The increase in funding costs were due to higher expenses for Yixin's self-operated financing business, commissions associated with Yixin's loan facilitation services, and costs associated with sales of automobiles.
Ming Xu, chief financial officer of Bitauto, said, "We achieved solid top-line growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, with strong results across our advertising and subscription as well as transaction services businesses."
Xu added, "Yixin saw healthy top-line results driven by solid growth in its total financed transaction volume, especially the rapid growth in its loan facilitation business. While we incurred additional marketing expenses during the quarter due to marketing campaigns to support our updated media app, we still saw margin expansion within our advertising and subscription business for the full year."
For the full year, the company said its revenue jumped 31 percent from 2017 to $1.54 billion.
"Looking to the year ahead, we are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for China's automobile industry, and we remain confident in our core business strategies to build Bitauto into China's top online auto media and transaction services platform." said Andy Zhang, chief executive officer of Bitauto.
Bitauto said it expected revenue between $359.2 million and $366.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 13.8 to 16.1 percent from the same period in 2018.
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