Carsales chief executive Cameron McIntyre expects growth to extend into in the second half of the year after the online vehicle classifieds business lifted first-half profit by 27 per cent.
Net profit for the six months to December 31 rose to $60.2 million, from $48.7 million a year ago, while revenue grew 12 per cent to $200.1 million.
The result was in line with Citi analyst expectations.
Revenue growth was largely driven by a solid performance from the domestic private business, including online advertising, which grew nine per cent to $141.6 million, and a 23 per cent rise to $32.1 million in the finance and related services segment, which includes the Stratton Finance subsidiary.
Citi analysts said Stratton grew well ahead of expectations but core business revenue growth rates had continued to slow, down to six per cent.
Mr McIntyre said the company was making “excellent progress” on advancing its international business, where revenue grew to $5.8 million, from $3.5 million in the prior corresponding period.
“It has been an outstanding first half of the year,” Mr McIntyre said.
“We see significant long-term opportunity in all our international markets and we are excited to increase our exposure in Korea and Mexico by taking 100 per cent control of these businesses.”
The group completed a $244 million acquisition of the remaining 50.1 per cent stake of its Korean investment, SK Encar, in January. It has owned 49.9 per cent of the Korean company since April, 2014.
Mr McIntyre said he expects the overall positive momentum to continue in the second half.
“The second half of FY18 has commenced well with January once again proving to be an attractive month for car buyers in the domestic business,” he said.
“We expect our domestic adjacent businesses to continue to build scale and breadth consistent with H1 FY18 and our premium listing and depth products to continue growing well.
“We continue to closely monitor our performance and market conditions and, assuming these remain stable, we anticipate revenue, EBITDA and NPAT growth will remain solid in the domestic core business.”
Shares in carsales.com dropped 25 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $14.12.
CARSALES’ RESULTS AT A GLANCE:
* Half year profit up 27pct to $60.2m
* Revenue up 12pct to $200.1m
* Fully franked interim dividend up 1.8 cents to 20.5 cents