Scout24, Germany's dominant portal, has released its half-year results, with strong performance across the board.
Group revenues hit €216.7m in H1 2022, up 14.7% on 2021 (€189.7m). Share prices also reflected the company's strong performance, with earnings per share rising by 18.0% to EUR 0.59 after significant share price buybacks since April 21.
Tobias Hartmann, CEO at Scout24, said:
"Rising interest rates, higher construction costs and the uncertain geopolitical and macroeconomic environment are influencing the German real estate market. Against this backdrop, the marketing strength of our ImmoScout24 platform is gaining in relevance. Our strong growth in the first half of the year confirms the strategic direction of the Scout24 Group, which is focused on digitising the real estate market by offering a diversified product portfolio."
Scout24's performance reflects a resilient property market in Germany. This is in stark contrast to other national markets including China, the U.S., Japan and the UK where cooling or sluggish conditions have impacted results for a number of leading portal companies.
Revenue growth in Q2 (14.7% increase) is a welcome continuation of a successful Q1 (15% growth). Given such strong performance across the board, Scout24's Management Board raised guidance for year-on-year Group revenue growth for the financial year 2022 from 11%-12% to a range of 13%-15%. The Management Board additionally increased guidance for Group ordinary operating EBITDA growth for the financial year 2022 from 6%-8% up to a more oprtimistic range of 10%-12%.
The company's mission statement in the past year has shifted towards targeting both private individuals as well as professional customers as they buy, sell and manage property, with revenues rising in line with Hartmann's vision.
The best news as far as the portal's bosses are concerned is not just that revenues are up, but that Scout24 is now less reliant on agent listings to drive income while also minimising risk (read Zillow's disastrous move into the iBuying market in 2021). Scout24's revenue diversification is apparent in the company's decision to distribute €69.4m in dividends in its recent AGM.
The company's decision to promote a paid subscription model for its end users has paid off, with Scout24's latest market missive showing nearly 300,000 buyers, sellers and agents signed up for 'Plus' subscription products. In Q2, Private individual customers accounted for 26.5% of Scout24's revenue—a figure that has risen consistently since 2019.
Meanwhile, Scout24's share buyback programme continues in earnest. The company has spent over €141m on reacquiring more than 2.5 million shares this year.
Takeover rumours in April gave Scout24's share prices a boost. EQT, a private investment firm that purchased Idealista (Spain, Italy, Portugal) for €1.4 billion in 2020, is rumoured to be interested in acquiring Scout24. Share prices reached as high as €61 per share in May, and have hovered between a steady €54-56 since July—but any takeover could require a purchase price of up to €80 per share, so EQT will need to dig deep into its pockets to add to its portal portfolio.