- Group revenue up 15.6% to EUR 155.6 million
- Group ordinary operating EBITDA margin at 53.0%
- Solid high-margin revenue growth at ImmobilienScout24
- Continued strong revenue growth at AutoScout24 with margin exceeding 60%
- Slowing growth momentum at Consumer Services
- Group targets for the financial year 2019 confirmed
“We are making good progress in implementing our strategic roadmap. We have started reviewing the strategic options for AutoScout24 and will give an update at the Capital Markets Day on 26 November. In addition, we are consistently moving forward on our path to streamline the organizational structure while focusing on our two core verticals ImmobilienScout24 and AutoScout24. In September, we kicked-off the first tranche of our share buyback program and have already returned EUR 80.5 million to our shareholders. We are on track with the implementation of all previously communicated measures.”
Tobias Hartmann, CEO of Scout24 AG.
”At Group level, we remain highly satisfied with our revenue and earnings performance, both in the third quarter and the first nine months of 2019. AutoScout24 continues to be in excellent shape and can therefore offset the slightly lower than expected results of the other two verticals. Our core business is developing very well and we are successfully navigating through cyclical advertising softness whilst continuing our investments in FINANZCHECK.“
Dr. Dirk Schmelzer, CFO of Scout24 AG.
Business performance Group
Revenue and earnings growth on target
Scout24 continued to develop very successfully in the third quarter of 2019. External Group revenue increased by 15.6% to EUR 155.6 million (Q3 2018: EUR 134.6 million). Adjusted for consolidation effects the growth rate was 11.0% (adjusted revenue for Q3 2018: EUR 140.2 million). Both numbers are fully in line with the full-year forecast (growth between 15.0% and 17.0% or adjusted revenue growth in the low- to mid-teens percent range).
The Group’s ordinary operating EBITDA increased by 9.8% to EUR 82.5 million in the third quarter of 2019 (Q3 2018: EUR 75.1 million; adjusted: EUR 73.3 million). This is equivalent to an adjusted growth rate of 12.6%, which is disproportionately higher than the comparable revenue growth. The ordinary operating EBITDA margin was at 53.0% and hence exceeded the comparable (adjusted) previous year’s figure (Q3 2018 adjusted: 52.3%; Q3 2018: 55.8%). This figure is also in the full-year target range (between 52.0% and 54.0%).
Group EBITDA amounted to EUR 71.7 million in the reporting period, an increase of 10.5% compared to the third quarter of 2018 (EUR 64.9 million). This EBITDA includes non-operating costs of EUR 10.7 million (Q3 2018: EUR 10.2 million), which mainly comprise share-based compensation and M&A-related costs.
Business performance segments
External revenue in the IS24 segment grew by 7.9% to EUR 68.5 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the previous year (Q3 2018: EUR 63.5 million). Adjusted for consolidation effects, revenue grew by 8.7%. The strongest growth driver was the business with residential real estate partners, which grew steadily over the three quarters of 2019. At the same time, revenue growth from business real estate partners, in particular project developers, decelerated. These are firstly confronted with increasing regulation - keyword “Mietpreisbremse” (rental price limitation) - and secondly with a generally more tense market environment due to a slowdown in economic development. Growth in the “Private Listers and Other” revenue line was in the low single-digit range. Here, the development of the subsidiary Flowfact, which is switching from a license model to a SaaS price model, had a dampening effect. In the field of private listings there was increased competition from both general classifieds platforms and real estate classifieds portals. At the same time, the Austrian marketplace ImmobilienScout24.at performed well.
As a result of the positive operational leverage effect, ordinary operating EBITDA increased by 13.5% year-on-year to EUR 48.1 million. The ordinary operating EBITDA margin reached 70.2% (Q3 2018: 66.7%; adjusted: 67.0%) in the third quarter of 2019.
In the third quarter of 2019, external revenue in the AS24 segment increased by 11.0% to EUR 47.4 million compared to the previous year (Q3 2018: EUR 42.7 million). Adjusted for consolidation effects, revenue grew by 14.6%. This continuously positive development is mainly attributable to increased revenues from dealer customers, both in Germany and in the European core countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Italy and Austria). Both revenue lines are benefitting from improved monetisation of the customer base and strongly increasing revenues (absolute figures) with value-added products (MIA-products and others). The number of dealer partners in Germany declined in the course of the three quarters of 2019 - with slowing momentum - and was thus also lower year-on-year. This is due to the optimization of the customer base with an increased sales focus in the medium-sized to large customer segments. Management expects this optimisation process to be completed by the end of 2019. The number of dealer partners in the European core countries remained largely stable year-on-year. Other revenues decreased primarily due to the effect of the deconsolidation of AS24 Spain.
Ordinary operating EBITDA again increased significantly compared to the third quarter of 2018, by 18.3% to EUR 29.1 million (Q3 2018: EUR 24.6 million). Adjusted for consolidation effects, ordinary operating EBITDA even increased by 21.2% (Q3 2018 adjusted: EUR 24.0 million).
The ordinary operating EBITDA margin increased year-on-year by 3.8 percentage points due to the strong operating leverage, reaching 61.4% in the third quarter of 2019 (Q3 2018: 57.6%) and thus exceeding 60% for the first time ever. Adjusted for consolidation effects, the ordinary operating EBITDA margin was 3.3 percentage points higher than in Q3 2018 (58.1%).
Consumer Services (CS)
The CS segment generated external revenue of EUR 39.8 million in the third quarter of 2019, up 39.8% on the third quarter of 2018 (Q3 2018: EUR 28.5 million). This increase is mainly attributable to the acquisition of FINANZCHECK.de in the third quarter 2018, whose financials have been consolidated into the Group as of 1 September 2018. Adjusted revenue growth, i.e. as if FINANZCHECK.de had been part of the Scout24 Group since 1 January 2018, amounted to 10.9% in the third quarter of 2019. In addition to increasing revenues from finance partners, the strong rise in service revenues, boosted by the continued success of premium membership, also contributed to this growth. Compared to the prior-year quarter, third-party display revenues declined slightly by 2.5% in the third quarter of 2019 due to slowing market and economic conditions.
As expected and due to the negative contribution from FINANZCHECK.de, the segment’s ordinary operating EBITDA of EUR 9.5 million was below the prior year level (Q3 2018: EUR 11.1 million). The ordinary operating EBITDA margin was at 23.8% in the third quarter of 2019 (Q3 2018: 37.6%; adjusted: 27.8%). The decrease of the adjusted margin is primarily attributable to higher marketing expenses and the declining, high-margin display advertising business.
Group targets for the financial year 2019 confirmed
Scout24 successfully concluded the first nine months 2019 with a revenue growth of 18.3% (adjusted: 12.7%) and an ordinary operating EBITDA-margin of 51.8%. The Group is thus well on its way to achieve the forecasted revenue growth of 15.0% to 17.0% (adjusted: in the low- to mid-teens percent range) that was communicated in the 2018 Annual Report and the 2019 Half-Year Financial Report. The better than expected development in the AS24 segment could therefore overcompensate the slightly lower than expected developments in the IS24 and CS segments. As for the ordinary operating EBITDA margin target, Management expects that Scout24 will reach at least the lower end of the projected range of 52.0% to 54.0%.
For a detailed forecast, we refer to the more comprehensive comments in this document and the Half-Year Financial Report 2019, which is available on our company website at › www.scout24.com/financial-reports. Scout24 will give an initial outlook for the financial year 2020 at its Capital Markets Day (26 November 2019 in Munich). This outlook will be further specified with the publication of the results for the 2019 financial year in March 2020.
Key financials at a glance
Capital expenditure (adjusted)5
1) Advertising revenue with OEM partner agencies and the corresponding ordinary operating EBITDA is no longer reported in the AutoScout24 segment as of 1 January 2019 but rather in the Scout24 Consumer Services segment due to the close structural relationship with Third-Party Display Revenue; the figures of the previous year have been restated accordingly.
2) As of 1 September, the result of FINANZCHECK.de is included in the financial figures of Scout24 AG. FINANZCHECK.de is attributed to the Scout24 Consumer Services segment. The revenue contribution for the period amounts to EUR 3.3 million, the contribution to ordinary operating EBITDA is a negative EUR 0.3 million
3) Ordinary operating EBITDA refers to EBITDA adjusted for non-operating effects, which mainly include restructuring expenses, expenses in connection with the Company’s capital structure and company acquisitions (realised and unrealised), costs for strategic projects as well as effects on profit or loss from share-based compensation programmes. The ordinary operating EBITDA margin of a segment is defined as ordinary operating EBITDA as a percentage of external segment revenue.
4) EBITDA is defined as profit before net finance expenses, income taxes, depreciation and amortisation, impairment losses and gains or losses on the sale of subsidiaries.
5) Capital expenditure (adjusted) does not include capital expenditure made due to the application of IFRS 16.
6) Cash contribution is defined as ordinary operating EBITDA less capital expenditure (adjusted).
7) The cash conversion rate is defined as ordinary operating EBITDA less capital expenditure divided by ordinary operating EBITDA.
With our leading digital marketplaces ImmobilienScout24 in Germany and Austria and AutoScout24 across Europe, we are creating a networked marketplace for living and mobility. With more than 1,500 employees we empower our users to find their new home or their new car quickly and easily. Besides, we offer additional services, such as the brokerage of relocation services or housing and car financing. Scout24 AG is a publicly-listed stock corporation and member of the MDAX. For further information, please visit www.scout24.com, our Corporate Blog and Tech Blog or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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Vice President Investor Relations & Controlling
Tel.: +49 89 44456 3278
All information contained in this document has been carefully prepared. However, no reliance may be placed for any purposes whatsoever on the information contained in this document or on its completeness. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is given by or on behalf of the Company or any of its directors, officers or employees or any other person as to the accuracy and/or completeness of the information contained in this document and no liability whatsoever is accepted by the Company or any of its directors, officers or employees nor any other person for any loss howsoever arising, directly or indirectly, from any use of such information or opinions or otherwise arising in connection therewith.
The information contained in this release is subject to amendment, revision and updating. Certain statements, beliefs and opinions in this document are forward-looking, which reflect the Company's or, as appropriate, senior management's current expectations and projections about future events. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results, including but not limited to the Company's financial position or profitability, to differ materially, also adversely, from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Statements contained in this document regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any information contained in this document (including forward-looking statements), whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.
Scout24 also uses alternative performance measures, not defined by IFRS, to describe the Scout24 Group's results of operations. These should not be viewed in isolation, but treated as supplementary information. The special items used to calculate some alternative performance measures arise from the integration of acquired businesses, restructuring measures, impairments, gains or losses resulting from divestitures and sales of shareholdings, and other expenses and income that generally do not arise in conjunction with Scout24's ordinary business activities. Alternative performance measures used by Scout24 are defined in the "Glossary" section of Scout24's Group Interim Report 2019 which is available at www.scout24.com/finanzberichte.
Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout this statement may not add up precisely to the totals indicated, and percentages may not precisely reflect the absolute figures for the same reason. Information on the quarterly financials has not been subject to audit and is thus preliminary.