Sales double for Afterpay, Zipco but losses mount

Sales double for Afterpay, Zipco but losses mount

Customer numbers have spiked for Australia's leading buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) operators Afterpay Group (ASX: APT) and Zip Co (ASX: Z1P), but the bottom line shows little sign of improvement for now.

Afterpay's total income surged 96 per cent to $220.3 million in the first half while Zip Co notched a sharp rise of 103 per cent in revenue to hit $69.6 million.

The market leader recorded a 134 per cent jump in active customer numbers to 7.3 million; around four times that of Zip Co in Australia and New Zealand with its number up 80 per cent at 1.8 million.

As competition heats up in the sector with other players like Klarna, Splitit, Latitude, Openpay and LayBuy, the companies remain more focused on driving customer momentum and sales than profitability.

Afterpay's after tax loss deepened by 31 per cent to $28.9 million, and Zip Co's loss ballooned by around five-fold to $30.3 million.

However, part of Zip Co's loss came from the $60 million purchase of PartPay, a company with operations in NZ, the UK, the US and South Africa. Zip also bought SME lender Spotcap for around $8.83 million.

"The December half was another record for the Company and confirmation of the hard work and dedication of the entire Zip team, together with the support of our extensive customer and retailer community," says Zip managing director and CEO Larry Diamond.

"We saw record results across all key drivers: customer engagement, transactions, in-store volume and revenue. We are pleased to report that we are ahead of our expectations for FY20 and are seeing significant growth opportunities in the recently added NZ and UK markets.

"Zip was founded six years ago when we saw a large opportunity to disrupt the broken and unfair world of credit cards and retail finance."

The message is similar from Afterpay CEO, managing director and co-founder Anthony Eisen.

"The strong metrics announced today reflect our team's efforts to considerably accelerate sales growth across our global business, while at the same time balancing business performance and developing our team, infrastructure and capabilities for the future," he says.

"We more than doubled our underlying sales and the number of active customers on our platform compared to the same time last year which indicates our differentiated business model continues to resonate with customers and merchants.

"Our global expansion is accelerating with the US and UK growing at considerably faster rate than what we experienced in ANZ. The US now represents over 30 per cent of the Group's total underlying sales and has the largest number of customers actively using the platform."

The companies' shares have moved in opposite directions following the news, with APT up 2.31 per cent at $36.80 each and Z1P down 2.13 per cent at $3.22 per share.

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