FindWhat.com Posts Record Quarter

Second-tier search player FindWhat.com reported record results for the first quarter of 2004, with net income of $3.8 million, a 41 percent increase over the same period last year.

The earnings came on revenue of $24.7 million, which was an increase of 56 percent over the $15.8 million the company brought in during the same time period in 2003. The net income figure of $0.16 per share exceeded analysts’ expectations of $0.13, according to Thomson First Call.

The Fort Myers, Fla.-based company also raised financial guidance for the full year 2004, saying it now expects to bring in $174 million over the year, which would be a 141 percent increase over 2003 revenue. The boost is due in part to the recent acquisitions of Comet Systems and Miva, along with the expected closing of the merger with European search player Espotting. The latter deal, which has been a long time coming, is expected to close on July 1. Espotting, for its part, says it reached profitability for the first time in the first quarter.

FindWhat attributed its growth in the quarter to increases in search queries across the FindWhat.com network, and accompanying advertiser activity. The company doesn’t currently report click volume, though it says it will begin to do so next quarter.

“[The increase in activity] was pretty much across the board,” said Craig Pisaris-Henderson, chairman and CEO of FindWhat.com. “We saw it everywhere.”

Besides growing through acquisitions, FindWhat has also made big bets on its private label services in recent months. The company unveiled the results of a joint venture with Verizon, which put pay-per-click advertising on the telco’s SuperPages.com. It also recently struck deals with Japanese company Mitsui and Thomas Global Register. SuperPages.com has been the most recent to launch, and Pisaris-Henderson says results have been encouraging.

“Not only is it up and running, it’s having a positive contribution for both companies, and it’s not even complete yet,” Pisaris-Henderson said, while declining to divulge specific numbers.

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