Scout24 Sees Slow Post Pandemic Progress as Revenue Rises 5% in Q1

May 12, 2021
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Scout24, the company behind the market-leading German and Austrian property porta brand ImmoScout24, this morning released figures for the first quarter of its FY21, highlights of which include:

  • Revenue was up 5.2% year on year at €93.8m
  • EBITDA stable year on year at €55.1m
  • EBITDA margin down -3.1% year on year from 61.8% to 58.7%

As for operational highlights, although Scout24's quarterly report did not give concrete numbers for its residential real estate partners, the growth in this segment was put at 4.8% on the same quarter in 2020 while commercial partner numbers were up 2% over the same period from 2,748 to 2804. Traffic to the site was up for the quarter at 107.7 million visits compared to 105.8 during the same period of 2020 and the number of listings was down slightly at 391k from 408k.

The lack of EBITDA growth was chalked up by a company missive to "dis-synergies" lost with the divestment of AutoScout24 last year as well as costs associated with the change in revenue mix "growth products versus declining private listing revenues". There has been a pandemic induced declining growth trend in average revenue per user, especially in the business real estate segment where the average revenue has actually been in decline.

Revenue growth was put down to what the company refers to as 'Growth Products' within the real estate listings business such as its Consumer-Plus section which includes ancillary transaction services and its Realtor Lead Engine which is the name given to the portal company's sales mandate lead generation business. Revenues from Scout24's private listings were down and, reflecting the fate of many portal companies since the onset of the pandemic, revenues from commercial real estate and third party media advertising was also down over the quarter.

Like many large portal companies, Scout24 has had to offer discount listings packages to stricken agents throughout the coronavirus pandemic but revealed today that it is well on the way to migrating customers to longer-term stable membership subscriptions with 66% already migrated with the company expecting to complete the process in the second half of the year.

Scout24's stated business strategy of "the development of ImmoScout24 into a comprehensive market network" is being persued with moves such as the purchase of rental property management software company Vermietet yesterday which will give the company "a significant head-start in product development for the rent market, which is key in Germany and Austria". Despite the initial negative impact on EBITDA margins, the new acquisition is expected to provide strong revenue growth and to build stronger relationships between ImmoScout24 and private landlords and ultimately contribute positively to group margins in around 5 years.

May 12, 2021
Edmund got to know the world of portals and marketplaces working at Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect after the buyout in 2018). He worked directly with hundreds of portals across the world in his role in the content department for three and a half years before transferring to the SEO department to understand the inner workings of listings sites. He joined Online Marketplaces as Head of Content in March 2020.

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