Carsales.Com Ltd shares fall on half-year report

Credit: NRMA Motoring and Services

Carsales.Com Ltd (ASX: CAR), Australia’s leading automotive listing website operator, today reported its half-year results to the market.

In the six-month period ended 31 December 2015, Carsales reported revenue growth of 11% to $167.3 million and a profit of $51.3 million, up 10% on the prior corresponding period.

Carsales’ Online Advertising was again responsible for much of the lift in revenue but Finance and Related Services, which earns commissions from finance providers, upped revenue 17.5% to $28.5 million.

“To once again deliver record half year results to our shareholders whilst growing our market leading position through expansion of the breadth and depth of carsales services to all our customers is testament to the strength of the domestic business and the growth potential of our international strategy,” Carsales CEO, Greg Roebuck, said.

Pleasingly, a dividend of 17.8 cents per share was declared and is payable to shareholders on 15 April 2016.

The group’s International business, which houses foreign listing sites and the strategic 20.2% ownership stake in iCar Asia Ltd (ASX: ICQ), experienced a 24% increase in revenue. However, it accounts for a very small proportion of Carsales’ overall revenue, for now.

“In international markets we continue to progress the business models in both our Brazilian and Korean businesses with growth in key metrics such as inventory, customer numbers and enquiry volumes, each performing ahead of expectations,” Mr Roebuck added. “This development has taken place whilst delivering local currency revenue growth of 22% and 14% for SK ENCARSALES in South Korea and Webmotors in Brazil respectively with both businesses showing significant potential for future earnings growth.”

Looking ahead, Mr Roebuck said the company could experience second half revenue growth, but profit will grow at a slower pace than the first half, provided market conditions remain stable. “We continue to closely monitor our performance and market conditions. Assuming these are stable, we anticipate revenue and EBITDA to remain solid throughout H2 FY16, while NPAT will grow more moderately.”

Foolish takeaway

While it’s promising to see a company post growth across most metrics, today’s results appear slightly below the market’s expectations, which has seen shares fall in early trade. However, bulls would argue that any material fall in the company’s share price is an ideal buying opportunity for the long-term focused investor.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz has a financial interest in Carsales.Com. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, 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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