Yandex Rises as Online Advertising Growth Boosts Sales Target

Yandex NV rose the most in 18 months after Russia’s largest Internet search engine posted a 79 percent increase in first-quarter profit and raised its 2013 sales target because of growth in online advertising.

Net income climbed to 2.25 billion rubles ($72 million) from 1.26 billion rubles a year earlier, Yandex said in a statement today. Sales advanced 36 percent to 8 billion rubles, while the adjusted margin on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was 43.8 percent. Yandex rose as much as 13 percent, the biggest intraday jump since October 2011, and traded 12 percent up at 10:26 a.m. in New York.

“Yandex posted strong results, beating analyst estimates both on profit and Ebitda margin,” Anna Lepetukhina, an analyst at Moscow-based Sberbank Investment Research, said by telephone. “Internet advertising is growing at a good pace.”

Sales may rise 30 percent to 35 percent this year, Yandex said in the statement, compared with its forecast in February for 28 percent to 32 percent growth. First-quarter revenue from text-based advertising increased 35 percent, while revenue from display advertising surged 48 percent, the company said.

The company said today it has purchased 2 million shares since March when it announced a buyback program for as many as 12 million shares to support stock prices.

Shareholders including Baring Vostok Capital Partners and Chief Executive Officer Arkady Volozh sold $607 million of Yandex shares in March.

Yandex leads Google Inc. in Russia with more than 60 percent market share, according to Renaissance Capital.

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