EBay's Net Income, Revenue Up



Online auction house eBay Inc. reported today that net income rose 20% to $4.9 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Revenue rose 139% to $73.9 million. Quarterly net income excluding one-time noncash charges reached $6.1 million.

For the year, the company reported net income of $10.8 million and revenue of $224.7 million, 161% more than the previous year. Before merger and other one-time expenses, net income was $19.4 million. The site sold $901 million worth of goods through 41 million auctions in the fourth quarter, and it had 10 million registered users as of the end of the quarter, up from 2.2 million a year earlier.

Among eBay's initiatives for the coming year, CEO Meg Whitman highlighted Billpoint, a service being tested to let buyers use credit cards instead of checks or money orders. Billpoint is scheduled to be rolled out to the entire eBay community in the second quarter and for licensing to other users in the second half of the year.

The company spent $15 million in the fourth quarter on site-related hardware. Whitman says the site is running on less than 20% of CPU utilization, a level she describes as cautious but prudent. "The largest expense are behind us, but we have incremental expenses in Q1 and Q2 as we scale up to stay well ahead of demand."

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