Wednesday 23 October 2019

Purplebricks losses widen as global expansion pushes ahead

The online estate agent recently announced an acquisition in Canada.

Purplebricks recently acquired a Canadian real estate business (Purplebricks/PA)
Purplebricks recently acquired a Canadian real estate business (Purplebricks/PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter

Purplebricks’ losses have widened as the online estate agent continued its expansion into international markets.

Revenues for the year ended April 30 soared 101% from £46.7 million to £93.6 million, with UK sales up 81% to £78 million.

The group made a pre-tax loss of £26.1 million for the year, up from a £6 million loss the year before.

In Australia, where Purplebricks has been operating for a year, revenues were up by 285% from £3.5 million to £13.5 million.

Sales hit £2 million in the US, although there was a loss of £16.5 million from operating activities due to marketing investment.

Purplebricks’ cash balance rose from £71.3 million to £152.8 million over the year, driven by a strategic investment from Axel Springer.

Shares were down 2.7% or 8.6p to 310p after the announcement.

Purplebricks founder and chief executive Michael Bruce (Purplebricks/PA)

Michael Bruce, Purplebricks’ chief executive, said: “We are confident that Purplebricks’ market leadership will continue, given the strength of its brand, the continuing investment into team, technology and processes and our £153 million war chest for global growth, following the strategic investment by Axel Springer.”

The results come after the online estate agent announced plans to expand its North American footprint with its first foray into the Canadian market through the acquisition of DuProprio/ComFree (DPCF), which owns and operates a commission-free real estate service network with an online offering.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said: “While the current trading backdrop is mixed, Purplebricks continues to invest in its customer offering and technology as its pushes for further market share gains on all frontiers.

“Purplebricks remains well-placed to deliver significant growth in all of its regions over the next few years.”

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