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iCar Asia Ltd delivers record quarter: Time to buy?

Shares of iCar Asia Ltd (ASX: ICQ) traded as much as 4% higher this morning following the announcement of a robust quarterly report.

In its fourth quarter ended 31 December 2015, iCar Asia, the owner of ASEAN’s number one network of automotive listing sites, achieved cash collections of $1.84 million. Over the full 2015 year, iCar generated 113% growth in cash receipts.

Pleasingly, the cash burn from operations slowed to $2.7 million for the quarter as cash expenses grew slower than cash inflow.

“The fourth quarter completes an enormously successful year for iCar Asia,” CEO Damon Rielly, said. “The results underline the strength of iCar Asia’s market leading positions in ASEAN’s three largest automotive markets.”

Pleasingly, the company’s Malaysia and Thailand operations achieved profitability (before tax, interest charges, and depreciation and amortisation). That’s a good very sign for the company, in my opinion. iCar’s Indonesia business started charging users for the first time in the December quarter, and 1,600 car dealers paid for its products – another good sign.

“We are entering a very exciting phase as we look to transition to new, more sophisticated revenue models, including pay-per-lead, and launch our new website (both desktop & mobile) supported by our fantastic new mobile applications,” Mr Rielly added. “I feel very proud that again, the business has delivered on all promises during 2015 and we enter 2016 ready to realise the massive potential that awaits the leading online automotive market-place in ASEAN.”

Despite eating through some $3 million in cash during the quarter, the company had a healthy cash balance of $18.5 million.

Should you buy iCar Asia shares?

iCar could be heading down a similar path to that which Carsales.Com Ltd (ASX: CAR) did in the Australian market – only in far larger markets. However, although the business undoubtedly holds a lot of promise, it is an unprofitable small-cap share. Therefore, it does have a speculative element to it.

So while I think it could be worthy of a spot on enterprising investors’ watch lists at today’s prices, risk-averse investors could consider shares of Carsales.Com. Carsales holds around 20% of iCar shares.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz has a financial interest in Carsales.Com Ltd. Owen welcomes your feedback on Google plus (see below), LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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