Amazon records first profitable year in its history

Fourth-quarter net revenue rose 36% to $1.95B, the company said

Amazon.com Inc.'s net revenue and net profit both grew healthily in its fourth quarter and helped the online retailer close 2003 with a profit, a first for the company, it announced yesterday.

Net revenue in the fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2003, rose 36% to $1.95 billion compared with 2002's fourth quarter. Net profit grew to $73 million, or 17 cents per share, compared with net profit of $3 million, or 1 cent per share, in 2002's fourth quarter.

For the full year, net revenue grew 34% to $5.26 billion. Net profit came in at $35 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $149 million, or 39 cents per share, in 2002.

Excluding one-time charges, Amazon's pro forma fourth-quarter net profit was $125 million, or 29 cents per share, meeting the consensus expectation from financial analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, in a statement credited the company's low prices, free shipping options and wide variety of products for the strong quarterly results.

Viewing the results geographically, Amazon's North American fourth-quarter net revenue grew 18% year over year to $1.14 billion. Amazon's U.S. and Canadian Web sites make up its North America region. Meanwhile, international net revenue rose 74% to $804 million. This includes sales from Amazon's Web sites for the U.K., Germany, France and Japan.

Looking ahead, Amazon expects first-quarter 2004 net revenue to be $1.39 billion to $1.49 billion, an increase of 28% to 38% over the first quarter of 2003. For the full year 2004, net revenue is expected to be $6.2 billion to $6.7 billion.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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