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NEWS FLASH: Zoopla announces record results

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ZPG announced record revenues and EBITDA this morning – and said that 750 estate agency branches had returned to it over the past two years.

It also announced investment in a new business which will provide an alternative to tenants’ deposits.

Revenue was up 22% to £117.9m, and EBITDA leapt 11% to £45m, in the first half of its financial year – the six months to the end of March. Revenues in its property division shot up by 44%, to £55.8m.

There was record traffic to its Zoopla websites, with over 314m visits.

However, statutory profit was reduced by acquisition-related costs – ZPG has bought Hometrack and Expert Agent this year, although the latter purchase is now being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority. The amount of statutory profit was down by 25%, to £16.9m.

ZPG also announced that its number of agents was up 6% to 14,271 branches, and inventory up 9% to 928,000 listings.The number of agents using both its software and portal products, excluding Expert Agent, increased by 397, to stand at 3,203

CEO Alex Chesterman said: “We have enjoyed a strong first half to the financial year across both divisions and are delighted to report record revenues and adjusted EBITDA for the period. Our audience grew by 5% with a record 314m visits to our websites and apps and we achieved record levels of brand awareness for both Zoopla and uSwitch.

“We also made good progress on our continued product differentiation with the launch of an innovative new Move Planner tool which provides a one-stop shop for all moving related services and are pleased to announce today a strategic investment in Zero Deposit, a new business seeking to transform the lettings market by providing an alternative to tenant deposits.

“Our property division has performed very well, driven by continued portal partner win backs, strong demand for our upsell products and the continued migration of our software partners to cloud-based products.

“The integration of Hometrack into the wider business is progressing well.”

City analyst Anthony Codling of Jefferies said: “The picture painted by current house prices, rents and housing transactions is at best, one of choppy seas. Add to that a spell of uncertainty on the horizon with respect to tenant fees and utility switching and one may start to feel a little seasick.

“However, Zoopla’s robust business model acts as a protective atoll around the group allowing investors to reach for the sun lounger rather than the life jacket. It has delivered record results and is on track to meet full year expectations.

“It appears to us that Zoopla’s attractiveness to the agency market is increasing as Rightmove has only just begun on its aspiration to increase ARPP [revenue per advertiser] from £842 to £2,500 and OnTheMarket is seemingly off the market, whilst it sits on the bench nervously waiting for the ruling regarding the One Other Portal rule.”

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