Australia’s pioneering online job site SEEK posted a 69% fall in first half net after tax profit to $84.1 million, dragged down by one-off costs.
Without significant items, the profit would have increased 11% to $113.6 million in the six months to December. Last year’s result included an asset sale bringing in $182 million.
However, the result included costs associated with the closing SEEK Learning, taxes relating to its China site Zhaopin and other costs associated with the potential privatisation of Zhaopin.
The payout to shareholders has been increased. The company declared an interim dividend of 23 cents a share, a rise of 10% compared to the prior half year.
And the company has maintained full year guidance, expecting reported net profit after tax of approximately $220 million.
SEEK CEO and co-founder Andrew Bassat says the result is solid.
He says the benefit of sustained investment is best seen in the results of SEEK Australia and New Zealand which had a revenue rise of 13% to $171.3 million and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) growth of 10% to $97.2 million.
The Australian site has more than 35 million visitors a month looking at 160,000 paid job adverts.
However, SEEK’s offshore business is feeling the pinch.
“SEEK International is operating against soft macro conditions and is at an earlier stage of its business model evolution,” says Bassat.
“The subdued conditions are most felt in Brazil and across key markets in South-East Asia. Zhaopin has extended its market leadership which has underpinned growth in unique hirers and 23% revenue growth.”
Bassat says SEEK is focused on accelerating the evolution of the businesses.
“We are confident that our sustained reinvestment will translate into an even better experience for candidates, hirers and students and help to extend our market leadership,” he says.
“If we do these things well, we expect to see strong growth in long term shareholder value.”
Here are SEEK’s numbers in more detail: