Google downplays Europe concerns after Q4 earnings

Google investors inquired during the company's conference call about whether or not the rocky economic climate in Europe played a role at all in the fourth quarter report.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Ahead of Google's quarterly earnings announcement on Thursday, there were many worries as to how the company would do in light of the tumultuous economic situation in Europe.

See also: Google's Q4 revenue disappoints Google's Q4: Europe, Motorola margins in focus

Although Google did not meet Wall Street's revenue expectations, Google executives did try to do some damage control and offered a few different explanations.

For one, Google argued that if foreign exchange rates remained constant from the third quarter of 2011 through the fourth quarter, Q4 revenues would have been $239 million higher.

Subtracting TAC, which was worth $2.45 billion, revenue only came out to $8.13 billion -- but Wall Street wanted $8.4 billion.

Investors inquired during the company's conference call about whether or not the international economy played a role at all.

Chief business officer Nikesh Arora responded with a positive spin:

On the economy, look, we had actually quite a solid Q4 performance and revenue growth. I mean, even despite the FX issues (so you have to separate the FX issues from the economic fundamentals of our business), performance in Europe was actually quite healthy, despite the environment that we got there. And that's driven by the secular shift of offline to online continues, and the secular shift of more mobile continues. So from that perspective, obviously, we don't control the economy. We don't control the exchange rates, but we're actually quite pleased with the performance that we've had internationally in addition to the US.

Revenues from the United Kingdom, in particular, totaled $1.06 billion, representing 10 percent of revenues in the fourth quarter of 2011, exactly the same as during the fourth quarter of 2010.

International revenue overall totaled $5.60 billion, representing 53 percent of total revenues in Q4, down from 55 percent in the third quarter of 2011.


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