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EBay Profit Up 224% on Rise in Sales

October 18, 2002|David Colker | Times Staff Writer

Online auctioneer EBay Inc. said Thursday that its third-quarter net income rose 224% over last year, indicating that the public's desire to bid on everything from used CDs to luxury cars has not yet topped out.

The San Jose-based company earned a record $61 million, or 21 cents a share, for the period ended Sept. 30, up from $18.8 million, or 7 cents a share, a year ago. Unlike the vast majority of Internet companies, EBay has been profitable every quarter since it went public in September 1998.

The report came as no surprise -- analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of 20 cents a share.

The company said its revenue, derived almost entirely from fees paid by sellers who auction merchandise on the site, was $288.8 million, compared with $194.4 million a year ago.

Chief Executive Meg Whitman attributed the site's success to its small scale and individual sellers who have turned to EBay "in this difficult retail climate, or perhaps because of it."

In a conference call to analysts, she cited growth in several of the site's auction categories, including the EBay motors division, which offers cars and motorcycles. She said the site gives individuals a national platform on which to sell vehicles, increasing the chance they will get higher prices.

"We make inefficient markets efficient," Whitman said.

The total value of completed EBay auctions and fixed-price sales, which recently were added to the site, was $3.77 billion for the quarter, an increase of 60% over last year.

EBay shares rose 17 cents to $58.15 in regular Nasdaq trading before the results were announced. The shares dipped as low as about $56.50 in after-hours trading.

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