28/01/2011

By Max Clarke

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2010.

Operating cash flow increased 6% to $3.50 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.29billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009. Free cash flow decreased 14% to $2.52 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.92 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009.

Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 465 million on December 31, 2010, compared with 461 million a year ago.

Net sales increased 36% to $12.95 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $9.52 billion in fourth quarter 2009. Excluding the $139 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 37% compared with fourth quarter 2009.

Operating income was $474 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $476 million in fourth quarter 2009. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on operating income was $18 million.

Net income increased 8% to $416 million in the fourth quarter, or $0.91 per diluted share, compared with net income of $384 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2009.

"Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "We had our first $10 billion quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com. Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected - and it's on top of continued growth in paperback sales."


FULL YEAR 2010

Net sales increased 40% to $34.20 billion, compared with $24.51 billion in 2009. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the year on net sales was $86 million.

Operating income increased 25% to $1.41 billion, compared with $1.13 billion in 2009. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the year on operating income was $28 million. In 2009, operating income was negatively impacted by a $51 million legal settlement.

Net income increased 28% to $1.15 billion in 2010, or $2.53 per diluted share, compared with net income of $902 million, or $2.04 per diluted share, in 2009.


Financial Guidance

The following forward-looking statements reflect Amazon.com's expectations as of January 27, 2011. Our results are inherently unpredictable and may be materially affected by many factors, such as fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and consumer spending, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet and online commerce and the various factors detailed below.

First Quarter 2011 Guidance

* Net sales are expected to be between $9.1 billion and $9.9 billion, or to grow between 28% and 39% compared with first quarter 2010.
* Operating income is expected to be between $260 million and $385 million, or between 34% decline and 2% decline compared with first quarter 2010.
* This guidance includes approximately $140 million for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets, and it assumes, among other things, that no additional business acquisitions or investments are concluded and that there are no further revisions to stock-based compensation estimates.