The launch of a new look and feel for REA Group's realestate.com.au is said to be fast approaching, but today all eyes are on the company's financial results.
Results for the half year ending 31 December 2009 have EBITDA up 42 percent, net profit from continuing operations up 76 percent, and revenue up 13 percent compared to the half year ending December 2008.
Revenues were at AUD$91.8 million, while net profit from continuing operations was $23.1 million. The company's cash balance stands at $57.8 million, which is up 39 percent from the first half of the previous financial year.
REA reported strong results in its October annual report to shareholders, showing revenue from continuing operations was up 26 percent to $167.8 million. This came after the company sold its stake in United Arab Emirates portal propertyfinder.ae and sold UK portal propertyfinder.com to zoopla.co.uk.
The group's director, Alasdair MacLeod, stepped down from his role in early February. General manager for international business Shaun Di Gregorio and Australian CEO Jamie Pride also left in 2009.
REA Groups says its operational expenses remained flat for the first half of the 2010 financial year as reductions in its cost base were balanced by a "significant investment" in its technology platform.
The number of paying subscribing agents to its Australian portals (realestate.com.au, realcommercial.com.au, and realholidays.com.au) was almost the same as in the previous financial year - 9,329 versus 9,332. REA says this gives it an estimated market share of approximately 95 percent in the residential segment.
Traffic to these Australian websites reached an all-time high in October 2009 of 6.3 million, according to Nielsen NetRatings quoted by the company.
In Italy, REA Group's casa.it attracted 1,087 more agents - bringing its total to 9,140 - as the result of new product launches. This is around 29 percent of the total market.
Traffic to casa.it was up to 1.56 million in December 2009 - an increase of 0.83 million over December 2008. REA Group says this makes casa.it the clear market leader.
"In addition to our focus on organic growth in Australian and Italy, we are making significant capex and opex investments to enhance our technology platform and increase the range of value-added products we offer both agents and consumers," said REA Group CEO and managing director Greg Ellis.