Scout24 generates stable revenue and improves margin in the first half of 2020 despite Covid-19 pandemic
- Revenue from continuing operations is up 1% year-on-year at EUR 173 million
- Ordinary operating EBITDA margin increases to 61%
- The Residential Real Estate business shows strongest performance with 3% revenue growth
- New guidance for the year 2020 forecasts revenue roughly at previous year’s level with an ordinary operating EBITDA margin of around 60%
Munich/Berlin, 13 August 2020 –Following revenue growth of 5.6% in the first quarter and a decline of 3.5% in the second quarter, Scout24 was able to close the first half of 2020 with slight growth of 1.0% to EUR 173.0 million (H1 2019: EUR 171.3 million) despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Performance was supported by a robust real estate market that is recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
Thanks to short-term cost measures, the ordinary operating EBITDA margin still came out at 60.0% in the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2019: 61.7%). Cost optimisation and saving measures primarily related to the areas of personnel and marketing. The half-year margin was 61.0%, 1.6 percentage points up on the previous year (H1 2019: 59.4%).
Key financials (Group, continuing operations)
Ordinary operating EBITDA
Ordinary operating EBITDA margin
1 In accordance with IFRS 5, the previous year’s figures were retrospectively adjusted for discontinued operations.
“The last few months have shown that our focus on the three customer groups agents, home seekers and home owners is the right strategy. Our Covid-19 support programme was also clearly aimed at these target groups. We want to further expand the partnership with our agents, ensure an attractive offering on our marketplace and support home owners in selling their property and finding the right tenants. This is our ambition, and we continued to focus on that during the past quarter. At the same time, we want to make it easier to conduct real estate transactions digitally and increase the market’s efficiency. The need to make progress in this regard was evident during the pandemic,” says Tobias Hartmann, CEO of Scout24 AG, commenting on developments in the first half of 2020.
“The real estate market proved very robust during the Covid-19 pandemic and the first half of 2020 has demonstrated the resilience of our business model. Although we recorded declining revenue in the second quarter, especially in April and May, if we look at the first half of the year, we were able to increase revenue and margins in this challenging environment. We are therefore very satisfied with the development of the Scout24 Group’s results of operations and financial position in the reporting period. Hence, we are in a position to resume guidance for the year 2020,” explains Dirk Schmelzer, CFO of Scout24 AG.
New segment structure introduced
Following the completion of the AutoScout24 transaction, since the second quarter of 2020, a new segment structure has been implemented. This comprises the three segments Residential Real Estate, Business Real Estate and Media & Other for the continuing operations of ImmoScout24. The new segment structure was applied retrospectively also for the first quarter of 2020 and the first half of 2019. The development of revenue and ordinary operating EBITDA is shown separately for each of the segments.
Residential Real Estate business proves most resilient in the crisis
The Residential Real Estate business accounted for the largest share of ImmoScout24’s total revenue with 71% in the first half of 2020 (H1 2019: 70%). The segment benefited in particular from revenue with real estate agents secured under annual contracts. Accordingly, revenue in the Residential Real Estate segment was only down 1.6% in the second quarter of 2020. Overall, Residential Real Estate segment revenue increased by 2.7% in the first half of the year, from EUR 120.0 million in H1 2019 to EUR 123.2 million in H1 2020.
The ordinary operating EBITDA margin in the Residential Real Estate segment was 64.5% in H1 2020, up 1.7 percentage points on the previous year’s margin of 62.8%.
Business Real Estate also grows slightly compared with the first half of the previous year
The Business Real Estate segment accounted for around 20% of ImmoScout24’s external revenue in the first half of 2020. While Business Real Estate revenue was also down in the second quarter (–3.4%), it nevertheless grew slightly by 1.4% compared with the first half of the previous year, from EUR 34.1 million to EUR 34.6 million. This is primarily due to increased revenue with business real estate agents, while revenue with project developers remained relatively stable.
The Business Real Estate segment achieved an ordinary operating EBITDA margin of 72.1% in H1 2020 (up 3.9 percentage points from 68.2% in H1 2019).
Media & Other segment records declining revenue but stable margin
Contributing a 9% share of revenue, the Media & Other segment revenue declined by 12.2% to EUR 15.1 million in the first half of 2020. Advertising revenue suffered most in this context, both from the general market contraction of the media business and as a result of Covid-19. ImmoScout24 Austria was able to generate growth in both quarters, Q1 and Q2.
Also, the weaker-margin Media & Other segment was able to raise its profitability compared with H1 2019, namely by 0.4 percentage points to an ordinary operating EBITDA margin of 40.4%.
Earnings after tax increase stronger than ordinary operating EBITDA
The Group’s (unadjusted) EBITDA increased by 31.1% to EUR 96.4 million (H1 2019: EUR 73.5 million). This is mainly due to higher personnel expenses from share-based payments and higher M&A-related expenses the year before.
The consolidated earnings from continuing operations attributable to the shareholders of the parent company increased significantly in the first half of 2020 by 62.0% to EUR 44.2 million (H1 2019: EUR 27.3 million). Based on the volume-weighted average number of shares of 104,244,555, (basic) earnings per share from continuing operations amounted to EUR 0.42 in the first half of 2020 (H1 2019: EUR 0.25; number of shares: 107,600,000).
The new guidance for the year 2020 underscores the resilient business model
For the Scout24 Group, the Management Board expects Group revenue this year to be roughly on a par with the previous year and the Group's ordinary operating EBITDA margin at around 60%. This forecast reflects the business development in the first half of the year and is based on various assumptions regarding the future business and market dynamics as well as developments in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the environment remains more volatile and uncertain than before the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook is premised on the following additional assumptions:
- There will be no new Covid-19 lockdown measures or significant restrictions on the business activities of relevance to Scout24 in the second half of 2020.
- There will be no significant payment defaults in connection with the Liquidity Plus programme.
- The law governing the sharing of agent commission on the sale of residential properties (key word “Bestellerprinzip”) is not expected to significantly affect Scout24 in the current financial year.
Thanks to its resilient business model, the Scout24 Group is well positioned to weather the current crisis together with its customers. The Management Board expects an acceleration of the digitisation of real estate transactions catalysed by Covid-19. This offers attractive growth potential, and Scout24 – as Germany’s market leader – will play a leading role in driving this development forward.
The complete outlook as well as the detailed financial tables and explanations can be found in the 2020 half-year report, which is available at www.scout24.com/en/investors/financial-reports-presentations.
Scout24 is one of the leading digital companies in Germany. With ImmoScout24, an online platform for residential and commercial real estate, we successfully bring together owners, realtors, tenants, and buyers to make complex decisions easy – and we have been doing so for more than 20 years. With around 14 million users per month, ImmoScout24 is the market leader for digital real estate marketing and search. To digitise the process of real estate transactions, ImmoScout24 is continually developing new products and building up an ecosystem for renting, buying, and commercial real estate in Germany. Scout24 is a listed stock corporation (ISIN: DE000A12DM80, Ticker: G24) and member of the MDAX. Further information is available on Twitter and LinkedIn. Since 2012, ImmoScout24 has also been active in the Austrian real estate market, reaching around 3 million users monthly.
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