Carsales puts pedal to the metal

Carsales puts pedal to the metal

Online classifieds site carsales.com.au (ASX: CAR) has accelerated to top speed in the first half of FY18, reporting a net profit boost of 27 per cent to $60.2 million.

Carsales also lifted revenue for the six months to December 31 by 12 per cent to $200.1 million thanks to strong performances in its core domestic divisions.

The company has declared an interim dividend of 20.5 cents per share, up 10 per cent from a year ago.

The company has recently been targeting acquisition to expand its automotive classifieds business in countries including Brazil, South Korea, and Thailand.

Last month, the group completed a $237 million transaction to acquire full control of South Korean classifieds business SKEncar.com. The Australian group has owned 49.9 per cent of the company since 2014.

In addition to a strong first half, CEO Cameron McIntyre says the group is on track to a similarly strong 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," says McIntyre.

"We expect our domestic adjacent business to continue to build scale and breadth consistent with the first half."

The company added that the growth in revenue was driven by private clients seeking buyers for their vehicles. Private revenue rose by 20 per cent on-year, outpacing dealer revenue which was up just seven per cent.

The group's play in finance, namely Stratton Finance, also saw positive movement. Revenue from Stratton was up 23 per cent.

The group's movements internationally were also positive. The company says a highlight was Webmotors in Brazil, where earnings were up 30 per cent.

In the second half, McIntyre says the group is prioritising an improvement on consumer mobile experience and technological advancements.

"We are prioritising an optimised mobile experience for our consumers and commercial customers, given the continues shift to mobile device usage," says McIntyre.

"There is plenty more to come with our investments in mobile technology, data science and artificial intelligence, ensuring we provide compelling personalised experiences for consumers and commercial customers."

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