Adevinta has delivered its first Q1 results and revenues are up 15 percent, despite display advertising dropping 5 percent. Its verticals are doing well and Global Markets reached a positive EBITDA for the first time.
Increased cash flow is important for the future of the business and Adevinta hasn’t disappointed. Net cash flow from operating activities doubled to € 51 million ($57.1 million U.S.). The company hasn’t announced plans for mergers or acquisitions, but it’s definitely building cash. Adevinta will no doubt find new revenue streams for its already profitable verticals — which grew revenue by 19 percent this quarter.
M&A activities are very much on the company’s agenda. In its Q1 report, Adevinta said it’s uniquely positioned for participation in possible structural development in the industry. It paid € 100 million towards acquisitions in January. Most of that money went towards buying the remaining 10 percent of Schibsted Classified Media Spain (SCM Spain).
Adevinta operates InfoJobs, Coches, FotoCasa, Habitaclia, Milanuncios, and Vibbo in Spain. The segment grew 21 percent over the comparative period with an EBITDA margin of 29 percent. This is low by Schibsted standards, but still higher than last year’s 25 percent margin. Total revenue for Spain amounted to € 43.8 million ($49 million U.S.).
SCM Spain moved all 1000 employees into the same building in Barcelona in April. This will likely benefit the verticals, allowing them to cross-sell advertising. Coches.net and Milanunicios, for example, are already bundling car ads while a price transparency tool is attracting new customers.
CEO Rolv-Erik Ryssdal identified product development as a means to strengthen the business. This is already happening in Spain where InfoJobs has further developed its candidate matching algorithms.
Adevinta has also deepened its marketing investments.
The group’s core markets remain strong. LeBonCoin in France saw its verticals grow by 18 percent, but it was one of the businesses hit by a weaker display advertising market. Ryssdal gives several reasons for the market downturn. Chief among them is the new GDPR which has affected several display advertising systems, from a technical point of view. The situation has favored Facebook and Google who use their own systems. Adevinta’s display advertising runs through AppNexus. The service provider said it’s working to remedy the issue.
LeBonCoin has also had some internal salesforce issues and will be expanding its sales team. The company added new ad formats this quarter, introducing native video advertising. It now offers ad bunding with AvendreAlouer.fr.
The horizontal grew revenue 12 percent in Q1 to € 82 million. Its EBITDA margin sank marginally to 55 percent.
OLX and InfoJobs in Brazil had a very strong quarter. Adevinta runs OLX Brazil as a joint venture with Naspers. Revenue for the region was up 54 percent to € 20.4 million — but thanks to a weak currency, that translates to 39 percent in Euros.
The real estate and auto verticals did particularly well in Brazil, thanks to more paying customers and new financing options.
Adevinta’s Global Markets division — which comprises of operations in 13 countries — reported its first positive EBITDA margin of 4 percent to € 1.1 million. It’s worth noting that this division stood at a loss of € 12.5 million in Q1 2018.
Adevinta divides the Global Markets division into developed markets (with countries like Italy, Ireland, Hungary) and those in the investment phase like Mexico or the app Shpock. The company has been hard at work reducing Shpock’s costs to improve EBITDA margins. The division has brought expenses down to € 28.8 million from € 40.4 million in Q1 2018.
Adevinta is currently valued at NOK 58.6 billion ($6.7 billion) on the Oslo stock exchange. Schibsted owns 60 percent and although it will likely be a long-term owner, it is open to reducing its shareholding over time.
In his Q1 report, Ryssdal stressed that Adevinta is an independent company. Schibsted exercises its ownership through the company’s board, but four out of its six members are independent.
Adevinta will be reported as a subsidiary when Schibsted releases its financial results on Wednesday.