Wotif's Profit Warning Has Wiped $270 Million Off The Market

Graeme Wood’s online travel group Wotif has lost about $270 million on the ASX today after warning that its first-half results would come in about 20% shy of last year’s result.

Wotif, which trades as WTF, closed at $4.18 a share yesterday. It opened down 23% and is now trading at $2.91.

The company told investors prior to this morning’s open that it forecast a net profit after tax of $21.9 million to $22.6 million for H1 2014, compared to $27.5 million in the prior half-year.

It expected a small revenue increase to be offset by depreciation and $9 million more in operating costs, with marketing costs up $4 million year-on-year, and salaries up $3.8 million.

“The outlook of the second half FY14 remains volatile with retail conditions in our key Australian and New Zealand retail market continuing to be soft,” he said.

“Given this volatility, it is not possible to provide guidance for the full FY14 fiscal year at this time.”

Wotif is one of the few technology companies on the ASX. It was founded in Brisbane in 2000 and listed in 2006.

Earlier this year, it moved into Sydney’s iconic Corn Exchange building in anticipation of further growth, as well as selling its original head office in Milton, Brisbane, for $4.25 million.

Founder Graeme Wood sold 2 million shares at $4.45 in October, representing about 4.6% of his holdings at the time.

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