E-commerce telecommunications provider Talk.com Inc. (Nasdaq: TALK) hustled past analysts' estimates in its second quarter Monday, earning $14 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $117.1 million.
First Call consensus expected the Reston, Va. company for a profit of 20 cents a share.
Its shares closed off 1/4 to 10 13/16 ahead of the earnings report.
In the year-ago quarter, Talk.com, formerly known as Tel-Save.com, lost $96.1 million, or $1.49 a share, on sales of $110.6 million.
In the quarter, registered online accounts grew from slightly more than 1 million customers in March to 1.2 million in the month of June. The number of calls billed online increased by more than 19 percent from March to June.
Company officials said it expects quarterly sequential revenue growth from online customers from the second quarter to the third quarter to exceed 15 percent based on the success of its marketing programs in late May and June.
"Our growth rate is accelerating, and we now have new channels to drive more online subscribers," said CEO Gabe Battista in a prepared release. "With our sights on several new e-commerce partnerships, we think these growth rates will be sustainable. We are pleased that we could earn record profits in the second quarter while increasing marketing expenses."
Gross profit margins improved to 37.3 percent in the quarter from 32.4 percent in the first quarter.
Talk.com shares hit a 52-week high of 22 1/2 in January after falling to a low of 4 11/16 in October.
All three analysts following the stock maintain a "strong buy" recommendation.>