The German and Austrian market-leading property portal group Scout24 has today released its preliminary 2020 financial figures. Much like those of its fellow European property portal OnTheMarket, Scout24's numbers reflect a tumultuous year in which the company weathered the storm around the global pandemic and ended the year strongly as demand in the domestic property sector soared.
The year was an important one for Scout24 which started off with the sale of its Auto division for €2.8 billion with much of the capital going into debt reduction (€680 million repaid over the financial year) and some being used for the purchase of the property and finance portal Immoverkauf in July.
Highlights of the company's interim 2020 report include:
Commenting on his company's 2020 performance Scout24 CEO Tobias Hartmann said:
"In 2020, we demonstrated to be a reliable and responsible partner in difficult times: We strengthened the relationships with our customers and created strong momentum for our continued successful growth. We have never lost sight of our strategic objectives. Through the ongoing enhancement of our digital product offering, we are progressing well with the development towards a comprehensive market network, thereby further expanding our addressable markets. This is also reflected in our diversified revenue mix, where consumer subscriptions and mandate leads are increasingly replacing revenues from private listings and 3rd party display. At the same time, we are thinking beyond the financials. As part of our 2020 strategy, we are making Scout24 an even more sustainable digital company with an enhanced impact on society and climate"
Digging into the numbers shows that the firm's revenue from its core residential real estate listing services was up 6.4% on the year despite an initiative to provide private customers with free listings. Average revenue per core customer also increased by 2.5% over the course of the year.
Reflecting trends seen in many portals' reporting of their 2020 performance, revenue from Scout24's commercial and media segments were down -0.7% and -12.1% respectively. Today's report notes that while contractually secured revenue was stable, the real hit in this segment was from a decline in revenue from project developers and new homes builders. Both trends had been anticipated by Scout24's financial department with the segment hitting targets despite these setbacks. The EBITDA margin of the business real estate segment even increased year-on-year to 71.2 % (up from 70.2% in 2019).
As for non-financial performance indicators, traffic was up 7.4% from 94 million monthly sessions in 2019 to 101 million in 2020 also up were user numbers which increased by 2.1% for the year. On the other hand, listing numbers in Germany were down -3.9% on the year as the macro-economic climate around the pandemic affected the German real estate industry.
As with most large property portal companies, Scout24 is making no secret of its intention to diversify the source of its revenue and adding ancillary services in an attempt to move closer to the real estate transaction. Today's set of interim results dedicate a section to expounding the company's progress towards this goal:
"Whereas five years ago, 85 % of revenues were generated with listings as the core product, in 2020 the percentage was 74 %... At the same time, the revenue structure is gaining both quality and continuity. Thus, the share of recurring revenues increased from 69 % in 2015 to 81 % in 2020."
Investors will be hoping that today's results can spark some life into Scout24's share price which has been oscillating between €62 and €69 per share after post-pandemic highs of almost €80 in late August.