SYDNEY/WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Block Inc, the
payments company of Twitter Inc founder Jack Dorsey,
posted better than expected fourth-quarter profit thanks to a
highly volatile bitcoin market and booming online retail,
sending its shares soaring.
The company, which offers merchant payment services and an
app that lets people trade the cryptocurrency, recently took a
secondary listing in Australia after buying that country's top
payments company, Afterpay.
Though the results announcement came after the close of
trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where Block has its main
listing, the company's Australian stock leapt as much
as 40%, the biggest gainer in a flat overall market.
The move followed months in which companies linked to
internet shopping have seen valuations shrink due to
expectations of rising interest rates and unwinding government
stimulus payments as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Block, formerly called Square, disclosed plans for an
all-stock buyout of Afterpay in August. Its shares fell by
two-thirds by the deal closing in January, pushing down the
value of the stock that went to owners of the Australian
The fourth-quarter pre-tax profit, which did not include
earnings from Afterpay, beat forecasts of analysts at RBC
Capital Markets and Jefferies, according to their research
Total revenue hit $4.08 billion in the quarter from $3.16
billion a year earlier, while "gross profit" jumped 47% to $1.18
billion, the company said.
Its unit that sells terminals and software for businesses to
process payments, Square, generated gross profit of $657
million, up 54%. Cash App, which lets individuals send payments
including in bitcoin, grew gross profit 37% to $518 million.
Cash App generated $1.96 billion of bitcoin revenue in the
quarter, up 12% from a year earlier despite the cryptocurrency's
sharp swings in value late last year. Dorsey founded Block,
remains a large shareholder and serves as company chairman.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye in Sydney and Hannah Lang in
Washington; additional reporting by Niket Nishant; Editing by