Bankrate issues profit warning, shares slide

Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:29pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Bankrate Inc (RATE.N), which operates personal finance websites, warned its quarterly earnings would fall well short of Wall Street expectations due to declining insurance referrals, sending its shares tumbling 25 percent.

The company -- which operates bankrate.com, insurancequotes.com and several other websites covering insurance, mortgages, credit cards and loans --- cut its revenue growth forecast to 8-12 percent for the 2012 year, below its previous range of low-to-mid-20 percent growth.

Its shares fell to $10.85 in after-hours trading, after closing at $14.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

"The additional adjustments we have made in our insurance leads business to aggressively cut back on sources to drive higher conversion and quality has resulted in a short term reduction to our results and guidance," Chief Executive Thomas Evans said in a statement.

Bankrate estimated earnings of between 2 to 4 cents per share for the current quarter, on revenue of $115.5 million to $117.5 million.

Excluding items, the company, which went public in June last year, expects to earn between 11 cents and 13 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, are expecting Bankrate to earn 20 cents per share on revenue of $132.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Bankrate is scheduled to release third quarter results on November 1.

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Rodney Joyce)

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