The acquisitive owner of house-hunting website Zoopla reported a jump in revenues from its growing price comparison and property website business in the last financial year.
Revenues generated by ZPG were up 24 per cent to £244.5m over the year to September 30, although acquisition costs meant profits rose less sharply. Pre-tax profits were up 4 per cent to £48.1m over the period.
ZPG owns a suite of price comparison websites, including Money.co.uk — which lets users compare financial services products such as loans, mortgages and credit cards — and uSwitch, which can be used to compare gas, power and broadband prices.
This month the group tried to add insurance price comparison website Gocompare to its flock with a £460m bid for ownership, but Gocompare rejected the offer.
Revenues made on ZPG’s price comparison websites were up 10 per cent to £122.2m over the year, while in the property division they rose 41 per cent from last year to £122.3m.
The group said its Zoopla website was now referring more than a quarter of the people searching for mortgages on uSwitch to the site.
Roddy Davidson, analyst at Shore Capital, said the group was positioned to benefit from the growth in online switching activity, adding that he was “bullish” on the prospect of ZPG bringing its property listing and price comparison businesses together to cross-sell products.
Anthony Codling, analyst at Jefferies, said the company was now “much more” than just a property listing website.
Zoopla and its larger listed rival Rightmove are among the UK’s most popular property hunting websites but have faced additional competition from OnTheMarket, a rival set up by a consortium of estate agents aiming to break the duo’s stranglehold on an area now crucial to home sales in the UK.
Alongside its full-year results, ZPG announced the acquisition of Calcasa, a property market data company based in the Netherlands, for €30m. The company adds to ZPG’s existing property data service, Hometrack, which it acquired in January for £120m.
Alex Chesterman, chief executive of ZPG, said: “Looking ahead, we are very excited by both the underlying growth opportunities in each division and the unique and unrivalled cross-sell opportunities we have created.”
ZPG’s share price was down 1.4 per cent to 340p on Wednesday afternoon.
This article has been updated to remove a reference to OnTheMarket listing on AIM.
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