REA Group Ltd (ASX: REA) announced the appointment of Owen Wilson to the role of Chief Executive Officer of the company, replacing Tracey Fellows.
This news comes after the REA’s current CEO Tracey Fellows decided to step down in January 2019 to take forward her plan of becoming the President of Global Digital Real Estate, News Corp based in New York.
Mr. Owen Wilson is working with REA Group since last four years in the role of Chief Financial Officer of the company. He has additional responsibility for company’s financial aspects, including portfolio management, strategy building, mergers and acquisition, and other finance-related operations. Before joining REA Group in 2014, Mr. Wilson led the role of Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary at Chandler MacLeod Group Ltd. His strategic and operational experience includes the executive levels role in ANZ and KPMG across Asia, Australia, and the UK.
Hamish McLennan, Chairman of the REA Group, stated that REA Group’s growth is primarily driven by Owen based on his deep understanding of the company, its strategies, and customers. He added that during the past four years, REA Board has closely worked with Owen and it has been realized that Mr. Wilson’s vision well coincides with the future vision of REA.
In the quarterly results update, the online media publishing site REA Group Limited posted a 17% increase in revenue of $221.9 million underpinned by growth over Australian Residential business and the recently acquired Hometrack Australia business. Subsequently, company’s EBITDA jumped 23% to $130.9 million compared to the previous corresponding period.
But the upsurge in revenue also pulled up the rate of operating expenses, mainly reflecting the phasing differences of some expenses. It translates 10% rise in operating expenses from $80.9 million in Q1 FY18 to $88.8 million for FY19’s quarter ended 30 September 2018.
On the business front, REA Group is witnessing a strong response from the Australian audience as its real estate site has recorded 2.7 times more visits than its closest competitor during Q1 FY19. Moreover, the company’s app has reportedly been downloaded more than 8.3 million times over the quarter.
While coming to October, the company reported a downward shift of 2% in the overall residential listing, including the decline of 12% in Sydney. Further, the tighter lending conditions and Banking Royal Commission regulations on broker recruitment are expected to cast a continued impact on the revenue growth of the company’s financial services business. However, under the Asian region, the company has witnessed a significant growth in revenue driven by the consistent increase in the audience share.
The Hometrack Australia business, taken over by REA in June 2018, is reported to be on track to deliver FY19’s revenue with the guidance range of $14 million ? $16 million and EBITDA within $6 million - $7 million.
In today’s trading session, REA Group’s stock price fell 1.754% or $1.300 to last trade at $72.810 on 18 December 2018. Its PE was 38.620 x with a market capitalization of $9.76 billion. Moreover, in the past 12-months, REA stock has gone down by 4.11%.