Trade Me’s deflated operating earnings

Trade meRevenue may be up 11 per cent for Trade Me Group to $199.7 million, but the general items’ business of auctions and buy-it-nows has definitely matured according to Sharewatch.

Revenue for this business actually dipped two per cent on last year, to $63.5 million; however, growth has turned positive again since March.

Sharewatch wrote the following earlier this year: “what Trade Me is really trying to do is to capture a share of online retail – to become an online shopping mall rather than a flea market. It is struggling to do that so far”. There have been some encouraging signs in the last few months, but the jury is still out. In the meantime, other parts of the business are still growing.

Trade Me’s classifieds businesses such as motors, property and jobs grew revenue by 16 per cent to $99.6 million. Likewise, its other businesses, which consist of a range of smaller businesses and acquisitions, grew revenue 23 per cent to $36.6 million.

Sharewatch is of the opinion that overall, Trade Me, which has boosted staff numbers considerably, has still made a sizeable profit of $80.2 million, the same as the year prior. It will be banking on using these extra people to create more profitable growth.

Trade Me is forecasting growth of about  five per cent in operating earnings this year but rising capitalised costs mean effective operating profit is likely to be depressed.

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