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TOP NEWS: Rightmove boosts dividend but sees drop in customers ahead

1st Mar 2024 08:39

(Alliance News) - Rightmove PLC on Friday reported increased annual revenue and profit, but despite striking a confident tone for the future suggested customer numbers may fall in the coming year.

Shares in Rightmove fell 3.9% to 544.80 pence in early exchanges in London on Friday.

In the year ending December, the London-based online real estate agency said pretax profit climbed 7.7% to GBP259.8 million from GBP241.3 million the year prior.

Underlying operating profit rose 8% to GBP264.6 million from GBP245.4 million. Earnings per share improved 5% to 24.5 pence from 23.4p.

Revenue advanced by 10% to GBP364.3 million from GBP332.6 million as customers continued to upgrade packages and increase usage of digital products.

The improved financial performance was reflected in a 9.4% increase in the dividend to 9.3p per share from 8.5p. There was no share buyback.

Rightmove said average revenue per advertiser increased 9% to GBP1,431 per month from GBP1,314 in 2022, although total membership reduced 1.2% at 18,785 from 19,014.

The latter reflected a 1% drop in estate agency branches and a 4% fall in new homes developments since the start of the year.

Traffic volumes to Rightmove's website were described as "resilient", although a total of 15.4 billion minutes spent on the platform in the year was down from 16.3 billion in 2022.

However, this was still 27% higher than 2019's 12.1 billion.

Rightmove reported a continued uptake of its top packages, Optimiser Edge and 2020 for agents, with 35% of independent agents now subscribing, up from 34% in December 2022, and Advanced for developers, with 53% of developers subscribing, rising from 42% in December 2022.

In 2024, Rightmove expects ARPA growth of GBP100 to GBP110, driven by the new Optimiser Edge package, ongoing product uptake and contract renewals, with overall revenue growth of 7% to 9%.

But customer numbers are likely to drop slightly, given the ongoing uncertainty in the macro environment.

Rightmove anticipates an underlying operating margin of 70% in 2024 and said its capital allocation policy remains unchanged.

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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