Israel's Wix.com lifts forecast after 86 pct jump in Q1 revenue

Tue May 13, 2014 7:24am EDT

* Q1 adj loss $0.30 vs $0.36 f'cast, revs $28.8 mln vs $26.9 mln

* Raises 2014 revenue forecast to $130-$133 mln

By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV, May 13 (Reuters) - Israel-based Wix.com, which helps small businesses build and operate websites, reported an 86 percent rise in first-quarter revenue on Tuesday and raised its forecast for the year, while underlying losses more than halved.

Wix, which raised over $122 million in an initial public offering on Nasdaq in November, said its quarterly loss excluding one-off items narrowed to 30 cents per share from 76 cents a share in the same period last year as revenue surged to $28.8 million. Analysts were expecting Wix to lose 36 cents per share on revenue of $26.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S Estimates.

Wix has 46.2 million registered users and added a record 118,000 premium subscriptions in the quarter to reach 908,000.

"We saw good demand for our products," President Nir Zohar told Reuters, saying Wix enables users to build websites without the constraints of competing software which requires filling in boxes with little flexibility.

Wix raised its full-year revenue forecast to $130-$133 million from a previous estimate of $127-$130 million and representing year-over-year growth of 62-65 percent. It expects adjusted losses before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (LBITDA) of $38 million to $42 million.

Analysts are forecasting revenue of $129.1 million in 2014, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"In 2014 the most important thing for us is growth and growth," Chief Financial Officer Lior Shemesh said, adding that the company was investing more in research and development and in penetrating new markets such as Russia, Brazil and Asia. Wix's workforce has double in a year to 700.

"In 2015 we will continue to increase our top line but expenses won't increase at the same rate so profitability will follow. It won't happen in 2014 but certainly will happen somewhere at the end of next year or a bit further than that," Shemesh said.

In March Wix withdrew a registration statement for a proposed secondary public offering.

"The timing was unfortunate because pretty much a few days after we filed there started a downward spiral in the tech industry," Zohar said.

"At this stage we don't have concrete plans for an offering but ... we may do so in the future." (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer and Greg Mahlich)