500.com reports net loss and CEO resignation, stock jumps nearly one-third

Chinese online lottery operator 500.com stock soared nearly one-third on Tuesday despite a disappointing Q1 earnings report and the resignation of its CEO.

500.com, which was one of only two lottery operators approved to offer online sales in China as part of a now-shelved pilot program, reported total sales were up 23.8% year-on-year to RMB 1.3b (US $210.6m) and revenue up 10% to RMB 98.8m ($15.9m) in the three months ending March 31.

However, 500.com reported a net loss of RMB 52m for the quarter, partly due to a RMB 30.3m bad debt provision and increased share-based compensation expenses. Cost of services expenses were up 46% year-on-year while sales and marketing expenses rose 118%.

Compared to Q4 2014’s numbers, total sales were down 25.7% and revenue was off 32.4%, reflecting the ‘temporary’ suspension of online sales that Beijing imposed on all its provincial lottery administration centers in late February. 500.com noted that it is “currently not generating any revenue” due to the suspension and expects “zero” sales in Q2, assuming the suspension isn’t lifted.

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