Jobs Giant Monster.com Scares Up More Profits

The parent company of online job search giant Monster.com said that its third-quarter profits rose 20 percent over a year before, due largely to Monster’s continued growth and profitability.

Monster itself had third quarter revenues of US$174 million, a 38 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to the earnings report released Monday by parent company TMP Worldwide (Nasdaq: TMPW).

Monster turned in a profit of $51 million for the quarter ended September 30th.

“Despite everything, we made our numbers, primarily thanks to Monster,” said Andrew J. McKelvey, chairman and chief executive officer of New York-based TMP.

Overall, TMP reported a decline in revenue, from $381 million in 2000 to $361 million in the most recent quarter. At the same time, however, TMP saw an increase in profit, reaching $25.6 million for the quarter, compared to $21 million in the year-ago quarter.

With costs from several completed and pending mergers excluded, TMP earned $39.6 million, or 35 cents per share, edging out reduced analyst estimates of 34 cents.

Tailing Off

“When you take into account what happened in the world, it’s a pretty good quarter,” Mark Marcon, an analyst with Wachovia Securities, an affiliate of Wachovia Bank, the fourth largest financial holding company in the U.S., told the E-Commerce Times. “The growth in Monster offset a lot of slowdown elsewhere.”

Even so, the veteran Internet job site has started to feel the impact of the slowdown.Monster CEO Jeff Taylor said the job site’s revenue grew 1 percent over the second quarter of this year.

In fact, even as revenue from Europe grew more than 15 percent, to $29.6 million, Monster’s sales in North America fell in the quarter to $137.3 million from $141 million.

“When the economy picks up, we expect online recruiting to grow even faster,” as companies scramble to meet rising demand, TMP president Jim Treacy said during a conference call.

I’m Shrinking

Added Taylor: “Overall, we continue to build momentum despite the cycle we’re in right now.”

In early October, Monster cut 10 percent of its workforce. TMP is also reorganizing worldwide to enable better communication among its interactive and traditional advertising divisions, the company said. TMP ended the quarter with $317 million in cash.

“We believe we have the financial wherewithal to weather the storm,” Treacy said.

Mergemaker, Mergemaker

Treacy also said that Monster hopes to complete its pending merger of HotJobs.com (Nasdaq: HOTJ) soon, though it still must pass muster with regulators, who have said they would review it for potential antitrust issues.

The deal was announced in June.

“Within the next few weeks, the boxes of information should go to Washington” for review, Treacy said.

Playing Football

Treacy also said despite the economy, Monster continues to be an aggressive marketer. Monster recently purchased time on CNN — a buy that became a high-profile one given recent news events.

Monster will also again pay to appear during the Super Bowl, where the dot-com’s ads have become an annual staple.

For next year, TMP predicted that sales would be flat to 3 percent higher than they were in 2001.

“Although our short-term outlook is guarded, we continue to believe that TMP is positioned for growth in 2002,” said chief financial officer Bart Catalane.

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