LONDON -- Rightmove (LSE:RMV) this morning announced that 2012 set new records for revenue, profits and underlying basic earnings per share.
The U.K.'s No. 1 property website reported a headline figure of underlying operating profit increasing by 26% to 87.5 million pounds from 69.4 million pounds the previous year, while revenue rose to 119.4 million pounds, up 23% from 2011's 97 million pounds. The company's underlying operating margins jumped up to 73.3%, advancing from the previous year's figure of 71.5%.
Shareholders in Rightmove will have been encouraged by two things in this morning's announcement: firstly, that underlying basic EPS lifted 31% to 65.7 pence, while diluted EPS soared 40% to 59.2 pence per share. Secondly, the company revealed that, consistent with its policy of increasing the total dividend for the year in line with underlying operating profits, this year it was rising by 28%, or 5 pence, from 2011's figure of 18 pence to reach a total dividend of 23 pence, following a final dividend of 14 pence (up 3 pence on the previous year).
The company being at the forefront of online property advertising was credited as one of Rightmove's main drivers for the record year -- indeed, this January saw Rightmove ranked as the sixth most popular website in the U.K., taking its place among global brands such as Google and Facebook.
Incoming chief executive officer Nick McKittrick commented:
More than a decade of investment has established Rightmove as one of the UK's most popular online brands. We continue to invest in order to maintain our market-leading position and enable Rightmove members to promote their properties and brand in front of the most home movers. We've seen an encouraging start to the year with record traffic and enquiries and with a major new TV campaign launching next month, we're looking forward to that continuing throughout 2013.
Currently chief operating officer and finance director, McKittrick is replacing Ed Williams as CEO as of May 1, 2013. Both have been with the company since 2000, with Rightmove's chairman Scott Forbes describing the last 13 years between the two as "very much a business partnership." Investors will have good grounds, then, to believe that the new man at the helm can continue the good work from his predecessor following the internal promotion.
Today's results saw the shares lift marginally to 1,726 pence, up 3 pence on last night's closing price. However, Rightmove has seen phenomenal growth over the last five years; shareholders who invested in the company at 2009's low price of 159 pence are now sitting on a cool 10-bagger!
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