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SYDNEY, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Australian job classifieds portal Seek Ltd said on Wednesday its profit rose 11 percent, as a booming jobs market in China offset weak results in Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere in Asia.
The company’s underlying profit, excluding one-off costs, was A$113.6 million ($87.3 million) for the six months to Dec. 31, compared with A$102.4 million the previous year and better than analyst forecasts of A$107 million.
Seek, the world’s biggest stand-alone listed jobs website, earns most of its revenue outside Australia, mainly from subsidiaries in China, Brazil and Mexico.
Revenue from Seek’s New York-listed Chinese subsidiary, Zhaopin Ltd, rose 23 percent - its 10th consecutive quarter of growth better than 20 percent.
That made up for declines in other Asian markets, as well as Mexico and Brazil, where the company said weak macroeconomic conditions had hit job listings.
“The subdued conditions are most felt in Brazil and across key markets in South-East Asia,” Seek Chief Executive Andrew Bassat said in a statement.
On Friday, Seek said it was in talks about buying the quarter of Zhaopin that it does not already own. The company said that the transaction would be funded partly through Zhaopin’s own cash reserves.
The Friday announcement pushed Seek shares to a near five-month peak of A$15.88 and their biggest intraday gain in a year.
The company in November closed its domestic education arm, after it lost access to lucrative government subsidies in Australia. Seek booked $15.9 million in costs related to the closure, largely offset by one-off windfalls from the sale of its stake in a Malaysian joint venture.
Seek announced an interim dividend of 23 cents, higher than 21 cents a year ago. The company reaffirmed guidance for full-year profit, excluding early-stage new business investments, of A$215-220 million and said it was tracking toward the upper end of that range. ($1 = 1.3014 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)