Afterpay shares hit record high on big sales increase

Afterpay shares hit record high on big sales increase
Buy-now-pay-later company Afterpay Touch (ASX: APT) has revealed it is on track to hit more than $2 billion in sales and has flagged a possible assault on the US market.

Shares in the payment services provider rose nearly 12 per cent on the news to a record high of $7.30 at around 3.45pm (AEDT) on Tuesday.

Afterpay Touch, which launched in Australia just two years ago with Nick Molnar as a co-founder, released its quarterly results to 31 December 2017 which showed its underlying quarterly sales hit $551 million which is up from $367 million the previous quarter.

The company's unaudited figures also showed sales for the first half of the current financial year were $918 million and underlying sales were now tracking at more than $2 billion on an annualised basis.

Afterpay Touch also announced to the ASX that it plans to expand into the US and American-based venture capital firm Matrix Partners will invest $US15 million ($AU18.8 million) in the company. Matrix is a technology-focused venture capital firm and its general partner Dana Stalder has also been invited to join the Afterpay Touch board.

"The market dynamics that provided the opportunity for Afterpay's launch and rapid growth profile in Australia and New Zealand appear just as prevalent in the United States," Afterpay executive chairman Anthony Eisen says.

"These dynamics relate to a number of macro factors including the retail culture and growth of online commerce as well as millennial trends in relation to lifestyle, shopping, finance and payments," he says.

"Our decision to explore expansion opportunities in the US has also been driven by the encouragement and insights provided by some of Afterpay's core retailer relationships."

The company is rapidly growing its customer base, which was more than 1.5 million by the end of second quarter FY18, an increase of 400,000 on the previous three months.

It has also lifted its number of merchants to 11,500, from 8,700 the prior quarter.

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