Gewinnwarnung von THQ(-30% nachbörslich) zieht auch Konkurrenzfirmen mit nach unten...
LOS ANGELES, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Leading video game publisher THQ Inc.
earnings but warned that results for the next two quarters would trail Wall Street
console maker Nintendo Co. Ltd.
Shares in THQ, the No. 4 publisher
by revenue dropped nearly 30
percent to $16.25 on Instinet from a
regular-session close of $23.17 on
Calabasas Hills, California-based
THQ, publisher of games like "Red
Faction II" and titles based on Nickelodeon franchises, posted a net profit of $4.8
million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $3.2 million, or 9
cents per share.
The average estimate of 20 analysts polled by Thomson First Call was for earnings per
share of 12 cents.
Revenue in the quarter was $97.3 million, compared with $68 million a year earlier.
THQ said it expects earnings per share and revenue at the lower end of forecasts for
the fourth quarter, with earnings of between 95 cents and $1 per share on revenue of
$270 million to $275 million.
For the full year, the company said it sees earnings at the lower end of $1.26 to $1.31
per share on revenue of $515 million to $525 million.
The average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call had been for earnings per
share of 98 cents on revenue of $270.5 million in the fourth quarter and earnings per
share of $1.28 for the year on revenue of $523.2 million.
THQ cited a number of factors, including increased caution among retailers in their
ordering and a struggle for market share in the United States and Europe between
Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft Corp.'s (NasdaqNM:MSFT - News) Xbox. Both lag
behind Sony Corp.'s (Tokyo:6758.T - News) PlayStation 2.
GUIDES LOWER FOR 2003
For the first quarter of 2003, THQ said it expects a loss per share of 10 cents to 12
cents on revenue of $55 million. Analysts had expected revenue of $92 million and a
profit of 9 cents per share.
For the second quarter of 2003, the company said it expects revenue and income to
"substantially exceed" the second quarter of 2002, when THQ reported earnings per
share of 12 cents on revenue of $85.8 million. Analysts had expected earnings per
share of 12 cents on revenue of $106 million.
For the full year, THQ guided to earnings per share of $1.40 on revenue of $585
million. Analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.57 on revenue of $631.3
"As we look into the fourth quarter of this year and into 2003, we see more uncertainty
than we would ordinarily expect at this point in the video game console cycle," THQ
Chief Executive Brian Farrell said on a conference call.
But analysts were quick to take exception to THQ's suggestion that the problems it cited
were affecting the broader $30-billion game industry, which most have expected to roll
on to record profits for the next few years.
"I think that the big retailers are rationalizing their video game strategy and they're
going to offer the hot 50 titles at any one time," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at
Wedbush Morgan Securities, a figure which he equated to about 200 total units on
shelves at stores.
"I think THQ is concerned they're not going to have very many top-200 games."
Asked about the potential for THQ stock to extend the after-hours drop on Tuesday,
Pachter said "I think it's a screaming buy down here."
Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Jeetil Patel also said the company's warning was
curious, given the relative strength of its competitors and of the large industry players
in the current console cycle.
"I think they're blaming the industry ... (but) I think it's more company-specific," he said.
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