REA 1H profit grows 35%

Realestate.com.au operator REA Group (ASX:REA) increased its 1H profit 35 per cent to $31.2m, despite nearing market saturation in the Aust residential segment

REA Group (ASX:REA), operator of the property website Realestate.com.au, has reported a 35 per cent increase in 1H profit to $31.2 million on strong revenue growth.

The company earned revenue of $114.3 million, up 25 per cent year-on-year. Media revenue grew 27 per cent to $24.6 million. Ebitda increased 28 per cent to $47.9 million.

Traffic to the company's Australian websites increased to 7.1 million in December, from 5.4 million a year ago.

But operating expenses grew 22 per cent to $66.4 million, as the company kicked off its Fresh Start marketing campaign, and the number of paying real estate agents increased by just 76 to 9612 in what the company said was a sign its penetration in the residential segment was nearing saturation.

But the company said its Italian website, casa.it, was continuing to grow.

This site increased its agent base by nearly 2400 and grew traffic to 2.32 million views in December to become the nation's market leader.

On the strength of its 1H results, REA has declared its first-ever interim dividend of 10 cents per share.

REA shares fell 0.4 per cent on Tuesday to $12.530.

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