Coronavirus Update

Rightmove Plc - Final Results

This content has been sourced from: https://www.investegate.co.uk/rightmove-plc/rns/fi...

PRELIMINARY ANNOUNCEMENT FOR RIGHTMOVE PLC YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2020

Financial Highlights


 

2020

2019
 

Change

Revenue

£205.7m

£289.3m

(29)%

Operating profit

£135.1m

£213.7m

(37)%

Basic earnings per share

 

12.6p

19.6p

(36)%

Final dividend

4.5p

0.0p

 

· Revenue down 29%, reflecting the impact of the discount(1) support offered to our customers for the period April to September 2020

· Operating profit of £135.1m, down 37%, with operating margin of 66% (2019:74%)

· Basic earnings per share 12.6p, down 36%

· Final dividend of 4.5p (2019: cancelled(2)) per ordinary share; total dividend for 2020: 4.5p (2019: 2.8p(2)

· £30.1m (2019: £148.8m) of cash returned to shareholders through share buybacks in 2020, with the share buyback programme resuming in March 2021

· Cash at the end of the period of £96.7m (31 December 2019: £36.3m)

Operational Highlights

· Average Revenue Per Advertiser (ARPA)(3) down 28% to £778 per month (2019: £1,088), with December 2020 ARPA of £1,103 (Dec 19: £1,083)

· Membership numbers down 3% to end the year at 19,197 (31 December 2019: 19,809) with 425 fewer Agency Branches and 187 fewer New Homes developments

· Over one million UK residential properties advertised on Rightmove (2019:0.9m), more than anywhere else in the UK

· Continued growth in traffic of 31%, with time on site over the year at 15.9 billion minutes (2019: 12.1 billion)(4) and site visits of 2.1 billion (2019: 1.6 billion) (4)

· Strong adoption of our premium Optimiser 2020 package, with 9% of agents subscribing to the package, up from 1% in December 2019

· First phase of digital rental journey complete, with video viewings, Rightmove Tenant Passport, viewing appointment booking and reminders and one-click reference ordering in place. Phase two development is in progress

· Rightmove remains an accredited carbon neutral organisation and living wage employer

(1)  We provided a 75% discount on invoice values to both Agency and new Home customers between April and July, and a further discount to Agency customers in August and September (60% and 40% respectively).

(2)  The Board declared a final dividend of 4.4p per share for 2019, which was subsequently cancelled. The total dividend for 2019 was 2.8p paid in November 2019; no dividend payments were made in 2020.

(3)  Revenue from Agency and New Homes advertisers in a given month divided by the total number of advertisers during the month, measured as a monthly average over the year.

(4)  Source: Google Analytics.

Current trading and outlook

Our clear purpose and market leadership, coupled with the value of our digital solutions and unrivalled data, position us well for the future.

The UK housing market has, for the most part, shaken off pandemic-related challenges to forge an optimistic start to 2021. In the absence of further economic shocks, we think it is likely that the current shortage of new listings will correct once the immediate lockdown is lifted and will have no lasting impact on estate agency branch numbers. We expect to see a modest short-term decrease in development numbers, given the ongoing high sales rate being seen across developments. Overall, we anticipate membership numbers for the year to be broadly in line with 2020.

In 2021, we believe Agents will continue to leverage our extensive suite of property advertising solutions to compete effectively and efficiently for new listings. Currently, we expect ARPA to increase from the December 2020 level at a rate of growth towards that seen in 2019. We will continue to closely manage our operating costs, although some of the short-term reductions seen in 2020 will reverse, and we will return to more usual levels of investment in our offering.

Whilst there is clearly still significant macro uncertainty, with record traffic levels, a strong product suite and our ongoing commitment to delivering more innovation, the Board is confident in the resilience of our business and the outlook for 2021 and beyond.

Peter Brooks-Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, said:

"All of our lives were upended in 2020. Looking back at how our teams dealt with a multitude of challenges and adapted to help our customers respond to new regulations, becoming a key information hub and responding with accelerated innovation to the record home hunting activity that followed, makes me immensely proud. I'm also extremely impressed by the incredible resilience and adaptability of our customers, and I'd like to thank them for their support.

In a year when we stayed in our homes more than ever before, people continued to turn to Rightmove for their next move and for real-time information, helping us to extend our lead in the market. The record traffic and enquiries that followed the reopening of the market led to us sending 51 million property leads to our customers. Strong activity has continued into 2021 and we recorded our busiest ever January for traffic.

Digital solutions emerged as even more important to our customers as they navigated the different restrictions and invested in our tools to help them handle the record interest in property from home hunters.

We remain mindful that 2021 may bring further Covid-related challenges, but we will continue to deliver our strategy to help make home moving easier, delivering the best solutions to our customers   and the most engaging experience for our users."