Monster Worldwide exploring China business sale

Thu Nov 8, 2012 8:28am EST

(Reuters) - Online recruitment firm Monster Worldwide Inc (MWW.N) reported a higher quarterly profit from continuing operations and said it is pursuing a sale of its business in China, among other restructuring activities.

Monster said it expects the restructuring to reduce operating expense by about $130 million on an annualized basis.

The parent of Monster.com said its results for the third quarter excluded the impact from China HR.com Holdings Ltd where it reported a non-cash asset impairment charge and deferred tax asset write-off of $225 million.

Monster took over the Chinese job site in 2008, paying $174 million for a 55 percent stake it did not already own.

New York-based Monster has been hit by a weak job market and growing competition from social networking websites such as LinkedIn (LNKD.N).

The staffing sector - a barometer of economic health - has seen a slowdown in Europe and an uncertain recovery in the United States, where the unemployment rate currently stands at 7.9 percent.

Monster said it will restructure and focus on North America and key European and Asian markets, and expects to earn between 5 cents and 10 cents per share for the current quarter.

"In light of the continued global economic weakness and actions announced today, (we) will not be providing guidance for bookings," Monster said.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 5 cents per share, excluding items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net profit from continuing operations rose to $39.0 million, or 35 cents per share for the third quarter ended September, from $18.5 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Monster earned 9 cents per share.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $221.7 million.

Monster's shares, which have fallen nearly 30 percent this year, closed at $5.71 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)