Some of Australia’s biggest and best online service companies have seen their share prices boosted in recent weeks after announcing earnings results and dividend payouts above broker estimates.
Real Estate website group REA Group Limited (ASX: REA) was one of the first to release earnings for the 6 months to 31 December. The group delivered a 30% increase in revenue, a 37% increase in profit and a 37% increase in the interim dividend. Since the result, REA Group shareholders have been rewarded with a 17% jump in the share price to a record high of $48 on Thursday. REA Group has room to grow and the management team is showing that they have all the skills required to deliver on those promises.
Australian, Asian and South American car advertising website group, Carsales.com Limited (ASX: CRZ), reported on February 12 and delivered a 10% increase in revenue, a 17% increase in profit and a 16% jump in the interim dividend. The share price rose around 7% on the day and has powered up nearly 15% in the seven trading days since. The company noted that recent acquisitions in South America were performing well and assets in Asia should continue to benefit from an increase in internet penetration in those countries.
Domestic and Asian-exposed jobs website operator SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK) delivered an incredible 29% boost in profit, 38% rise in revenue and 40% jump in dividend payout to surprise even the most optimistic analyst. SEEK’s share price jumped 17% on the day of the announcement, buoyed also by the purchase of JobStreet, an online employment market place that operates in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Incredibly, these results were achieved despite domestic revenue and profit dropping 3% and 5% respectively. Analysts expect that Asia could be where SEEK really makes its mark in the coming years.
Last, but certainly not least, is Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB). The owner of flights and hotel aggregator websites saw its share price jump 23% when it reported an above expectations 62% rise in revenue and 60% jump in profit. This allowed the company to boost the interim dividend by 4% while it continued to invest in future growth initiatives. The share price has come back a little since, but the company’s management has shown that it may be a turnaround opportunity.
The four online companies mentioned performed exceptionally well in the last six months of 2013. For all but Webjet, it represented business as usual or better than usual. For Webjet it could be the start of great things to come. All four companies appear to have quality management who are doing everything right to boost revenue and earnings domestically and overseas. I believe the coming years will see the online companies with exposure to Asia delivering the best returns.