Naver clicks with big jump in Q4 net profit

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Naver clicks with big jump in Q4 net profit

Naver, Korea’s top portal company, was a strong performer from October to December with year-on-year net profit more than doubling.

In a regulatory filing Thursday, the company’s reported net profit jumped 148.6 percent to 134.5 billion won ($123 million), while sales increased 19.3 percent to 750.2 billion won and operating profit surged 30.3 percent to 196.1 billion won.

Naver said its popular mobile messenger Line led the growth, with fourth-quarter revenue climbing 62 percent year-on-year to 221.7 billion won. Data showed that 60 percent of Line revenue was related to games.

Naver said it had 181 million monthly active users at the end of 2014, up 37 percent from 132 million a year earlier. The company, based in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, said Line has been downloaded by more than 10 million people in 13 countries. Of Line’s fourth-quarter revenue, Naver said 67 percent was from Korea.

“There is still room for growth in Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, while users also are increasing in India, the United States and South America,” said Naver Chief Financial Officer Hwang In-joon.

Naver said it collected 540.5 billion won from advertisements in the fourth quarter, up 13.7 percent from 2013, while 88 percent was attributed to the Korean market.

For all of 2014, Naver said, sales rose 22.3 percent to 2.76 trillion won, while operating profit gained 50.1 percent year-on-year to 760.4 billion won. Net profit, however, was down 75.9 percent to 456.6 billion won.

“Overseas revenue is expanding and leading the company’s performance,” said Naver CEO Kim Sang-hun. “We expect to see about 10 percent growth this year.”

Meanwhile, Naver said it will pay a dividend of 782 won per share for a total of 23 billion won. [BY JOO KYUNG-DON ]

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