Monster Worldwide forecasts weak quarter

Thu Aug 2, 2012 2:07pm EDT

(Reuters) - Monster Worldwide Inc's (MWW.N) second-quarter profit more than halved from a year earlier and the online recruitment firm forecast weak results for the current quarter due to soft demand in Europe, sending its shares down 20 percent to a record low.

The company did not provide an update on the strategic review it announced five months ago except to say that it was proceeding as planned.

"Over the second quarter, the situation (in Europe) did deteriorate further in that more countries slowed down," Chief Executive Sal Iannuzzi said on a call with analysts. "The issue and the slowdown or the caution has spread to the entire continent."

The parent of Monster.com, which has been hit by a weak job market and growing competition from social networking websites such as LinkedIn (LNKD.N), said it expected to earn between 2 cents and 7 cents per share in the third quarter. Wall Street analysts had forecast earnings of 9 cents per share.

The company said revenue was expected to decline by 6 to 12 percent, while bookings -- an indication of future revenue -- was forecast to be flat to down 10 percent.

"The macroeconomic environment is more challenging than it was a year ago (particularly in Europe) and currency trends are a headwind, but the company also appears to be still struggling with competitive pressures," William Blair analyst Timothy McHugh said in a note to clients.

Monster retained Stone Key Partners and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) in March to review strategic alternatives, including the sale of all or part of the company.

"We are aggressively pursuing a robust process as we speak," Iannuzzi said on the call.

Monster's net income fell to $4.8 million, or 4 cents per share, in the latest quarter from $11.0 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 6 cents per share, in line with analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 12 percent to $237 million, while bookings fell 4 percent.

Monster's shares, which began trading in 1996, fell 20 percent to a low of $5.72 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. They were trading at $6.00 at midday.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane, Anthony Kurian and Ted Kerr)

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