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Zoopla shrugs off property market struggles to report soaring profits

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  • 30/11/2016
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Zoopla shrugs off property market struggles to report soaring profits
Zoopla Property Group has reported surging profits and revenues in its annual results, and said it is “encouraged” by the growth of agency partners.

For the 12 months ended 30 September, the Zoopla Property Group – which encompasses brands like Zoopla, uSwitch and PrimeLocation – saw revenues rocket by 84% to £197.7m. Profits rose 44% to £36.7m, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 58% year-on-year to £77.1m.

Zoopla’s share price is up more than 7% since the announcement.

The firm saw its estate agency membership grow 5% over the year, with its property listing inventory rising 10%. It now has more than 23,000 ‘member partners’. It generated more than 23m leads in total for property partners, including around 350,000 property appraisal leads.

Zoopla has invested in a number of technology-led property firms this year, including online broker Trussle and buy-to-let lender Landbay. It has now acquired TechnicWeb, a cloud-based estate agency website design firm.

Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO of ZPG said the firm had now seen 18 straight months of agency partner growth, adding: “Our Comparison Services division has performed very strongly with record levels of switching activity and leads in every vertical helping consumers find the best deal… We generated over 53m leads across the Group for our partners during the year, helping them to win more business and operate more efficiently.”

The firm’s management said that while it is still early in the year, it remains “comfortable” with market expectations for next year. It highlighted the fact that a large proportion of its property partners deal with both sales and lettings, which reduced the risk of any downturn in the property market on its business. In addition, an economic downturn means people are more likely to use its comparison service in order to save money on their household expenses.

Zoopla’s results follow a far more downbeat announcement from Countrywide this week. Countrywide confirmed it was slashing its growth prediction for the year, as a result of “significantly lower” transaction levels than a year earlier. It forecast that transaction levels for 2016 are likely to be 6% lower than last year, a fall which it put down to changes in Stamp Duty and the EU referendum vote, and warned that transactions are likely to fall still further in 2017. Countrywide sold its remaining stake in Zoopla back in September.

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