Share Tip: Wotif Holdings Limited


Wotif Holdings LogoWotif.com Holdings (WTF) is an online travel services business, which represents 23,500 in more than 67 counties. The group’s main website is wotif.com, but it also operates under lastminute.com.au, travel.com.au, Asia Web Direct, LateStays.com, GoDo.com.au and Arnold Travel Technology.

WTF, through the aforementioned websites, offers a variety of services that include flights, insurance, car rental, and travel accommodation and packages across hotels, motels, serviced apartments, resorts, guesthouses and bed & breakfasts. The service allows customers to book rooms at a heavy discount and at the same time help hotels better manage their vacancies.

FY12 impress, while 1H13 disappoints

At first glance WTF’s FY12 results looked good, however when placed in the context of the weak domestic travel market, the results were fantastic. Revenue over the year was up 5%, to $145.3 million. Net profit was $58 million, up 13.8% on the FY11 result.

The results were driven by an increase in accommodation rates and sales, and also some significant growth in WTF’s flight booking service. WTF’s operating profit margin also increased from 56% to 59%, with the group demonstrating good cost control whilst expanding revenue.

On a more disappointing side, WTF said the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 continues to reflect economic weakness. The 1Q13 performance was in line with the 1Q12 and likely to continue for the remainder of 2012.

The group is essentially saying that it expects little revenue or margin growth for the 1H13 as the operations continue to endure a period of prolonged weakness.

The good news

The AGM was not all bad news with WTF announcing its plans to lift its booking commission rate by 1% from 1 January 2013. This will be followed by a further lift of the same amount on 1 January 2014.

The group had $1.16 billion worth of transactions in FY12, and a 1% increase in commissions on this figure would increase of $11.6 million in revenue.

If the group’s strong operating profit of 59% stays consistent, the increased commissions would equate to a pre-tax profit increase of $6.8 million.

Even with flat transaction growth over the next two years, the two sets of increased commissions suggest the company still has the ability to grow earnings.

Outlook

WTF’s FY12 results showed a company that is able to grow earnings even in a tough environment. We think that the increase in commissions starting 1 January 2013 will negate the effect of continued weakness within the domestic accommodation market.

We would also expect some of the increased revenue to be redirected towards expanding into the less mature flight and holiday letting businesses, which has already started to show promising signs. Given the aforementioned factors we feel WTF has plenty of scope to continue growing its earnings, providing further support for the share price.

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