* Q4 EPS $1.04 vs est. $1.25
* Q4 total rev $284.2 mln vs est. $298.4 mln
* Shares down 9 pct after market
Feb 29 (Reuters) - Auction house Sotheby’s posted a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a decline in auction revenue, and the company said it is further expanding its business in China, which has emerged as a robust purchasing power in art circles.
Shares of the company -- which is set to offer the only privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” at an auction in New York this summer -- were down 9 percent at $35.82 in trading after the bell. They closed at $39.34 on the New York Stock Exchange.
For the fourth quarter, the company which competes with privately held Christie‘s, earned $71.5 million, or $1.04 a share, down from $96.2 million, or $1.38 a share, last year.
Sotheby’s said the fall in earnings was largely due to a decrease in auction and related revenues, which fell 11 percent to $274.9 million.
Total revenue dropped 10 percent to $284.2 million.
Analysts had expected earnings of $1.25 on revenue of $298.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.