Sea Ltd Surges 36% On Narrowing Losses And Forrest Li's Push To Become Profitable

On Tuesday, shares of Forrest Li’s battered e-commerce & gaming company Sea Ltd (US:SE) roared 36% higher following the release of third quarter results, proving things just weren’t as bad as analysts expected.

Despite the strong rally, shares remain down more than 80% when compared to highs seen during 2021 when shares were trading above $300.

Sea grew sales by 17.4% over the year to $3.16 billion and beat consensus forecasts by 5% that were expecting $3 billion.

Digital entertainment (gaming) segment revenues declined -18.8% over the year to $892.9 million.

The e-commerce segment continued its rapid expansion growing sales by 50.9% over the year to $1.98 billion from $1.31 billion. The Brazillian segment drove majority of the growth with revenue rising 225% over the year.

The group’s adjusted EBITDA loss widened to -$357.7 million from -$165.5 million in the prior year driven by a fall in digital entertainment profits and a large change in deferred revenue for the segment.

Despite the widening underlying loss, Sea’s net loss excluding share-based compensation narrowed 16.6% to -$373.5 million.

The firm also highlighted after adjusting for $85.4 million of severance and early lease termination related costs for the quarter, the total net loss improved by 49.4% quarter-on-quarter.

The company reported 7,000 job cuts in the last 6 months to curb losses.

Founder, Chairman and CEO Forrest Li commented on the result telling investors “Given the significant uncertainties in the macro environment, we have entirely shifted our mindset and focus from growth to achieving self-sufficiency and profitability as soon as possible, without relying on any external funding

Sea’s losses over the last few years have remained a concern as the company has scaled up operations. At the end of the quarter, the firm had cash and short term liquidity of $7.3 billion which reduced -$485 million during the quarter.

Li also highlightedOver the last quarter, we took decisive actions to improve margins, and set clear goals and priorities for the quarters to come. We remain highly confident about the compelling long-term growth prospects of our businesses and markets”

JP Morgan analyst Ranjan Sharma is bullish on the outlook of the company and recently upgraded the stock to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ before the result. Sharma highlighted the company is targeting to break EBITDA even in the e-commerce segment by the end of 2023. The firm believes Sea can grow gross merchandise value (GMV) and revenues by ~20% each year over the medium term. JP Morgan raised its target price on the stock from $70 to $75 post result.

On average the street remains positive on the stock with an ‘overweight’ consensus rating and average $96.20 price target.

Fintel’s institutional ownership accumulation score of 15.47 is bearish on the company as it ranks SE in the bottom 5% when screened against 36,495 other global securities.

The score is partially explained by the weakening share price which has seen selling pressure dominate over the last year.

Despite the low levels of buying activity, Sea has 1,014 institutions on the register that collectively own 348.5 million shares. Some of the largest institutions include: Capital Research Global Investors, T RowePrice, Sands Capital Management, Baillie Gifford & Co, Morgan Stanley, Tiger Global Management, and State Street Corp.

This article originally appeared on Fintel

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