Baidu to Buy Back Up to $1 Billion Shares As Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates

Baidu (source: Shutterstock)

Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc. (BIDU) Monday reported a 7% year-on-year decline in its total revenue to 22.5 billion yuan ($3.18 billion) for the first quarter of 2020, beating Wall Street estimates of $3.1 billion. 

The company posted a net income of 41 million yuan ($6 million) while adjusted earnings were $1.25 per American depositary receipt in its unaudited financial results in the quarter ended March 31, 2020. 

“Despite shelter-in-place in the first quarter, Baidu’s total revenue declined just 7% year-over-year, resulting from our diversified revenue streams, including marketing services for wide-ranging industries, new AI businesses and iQIYI,” said Li Yanhong, co-founder and CEO of Baidu in a statement Monday night. 

Online marketing revenue was 14.2 billion yuan ($2.01 billion), decreasing 19% compared to a year ago. Other revenue grew 28% to 8.3 billion yuan ($1.17 billion), increasing 28% year-on-year, driven mainly by the strong membership growth in iQIYI membership, cloud service and smart devices. Revenue from the the online video platform iQIYI reached 7.6 billion yuan ($1.08 billion).

Baidu’s traffic remained robust with Baidu App daily active users (DAUs) reaching 222 million in March, up 28% year over year. The DAUs of Baidu’s Smart Mini Program has reached 500 million. 

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Baidu also said its board recently approved a buy back plan of up to $1 billion of its shares, with repurchases being effective until July 1, 2021. Previously, Baidu returned $185 million to shareholders in the first quarter of 2020 as a part of the 2019 Share Repurchase Program, bringing the cumulative repurchase total to approximately $1.4 billion under the 2018 and 2019 Repurchase Programs.

For the second quarter, Baidu expects revenue to be between 25 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) and 27.3 billion yuan ($3.9 billion), representing a growth rate of -5% to 4% year-on-year.

“With the pandemic coming under control in China, offline activities are rebounding and Baidu stands to benefit from a restart of the Chinese economy,” Li said.

Baidu’s New York-traded shares were trading higher on Monday, building on a gain of 7.74% in the regular session. Stock of iQiyi rose 2.12%.