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The UK’s largest property portal Rightmove pushed up operating profit by 18 per cent to £162m in the year to December after persuading record numbers of estate agents to list homes on the site.

Some 20,100 customers listed properties during the year — an increase of 2 per cent — and they spent more on additional data and services, helping to increase revenues by 15 per cent to £220m.

The FTSE 250 group said on Friday, however, that its chief executive Nick McKittrick, would retire in May, handing over leadership to Peter Brooks-Johnson, chief operating officer.

Mr McKittrick had headed the company since 2013, when he took over from the group’s founder, Ed Williams.

Mr McKittrick said:

Rightmove continues to be the place that home movers turn to first, with nearly 1.5 billion visits in 2016, up 10% on last year. Home movers spent nearly a billion minutes every month searching and researching homes on Rightmove, the only place you can see almost the entire UK property market.

The group is to increase its final dividend by to 32p, making a total of 51p for the year, a 19 per cent increase on last year.

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