Shares in online vehicle marketplace Carsales.com have tumbled after it booked an 82 per cent drop in first-half profit following a $48 million impairment against its stake in Stratton Finance.
The company posted a net profit of $11.1 million for the six months to December 31, down from $60.58 million a year ago, following the worse-than-expected performance of Stratton, of which Carsales.com owns 50.1 per cent.
Half-year revenue was up 17.2 per cent to $235 million, including a 12 per cent lift in private seller revenue performance to $41.5 million, and strong earnings growth in the company's two largest overseas investments, Korea and Brazil.
This was offset by a 16 per cent drop in display advertising revenue to $29.9 million.
"The performance of our display advertising business division in the first half of this financial year has been challenging in a tougher market for finance, insurance and new car sales in Australia," chief executive Cameron McIntyre said on Wednesday.
"(But) our inspection and tyre sales businesses continue to be key components in our adjacent market growth strategy, enabling us to service consumers across more of the auto ownership cycle."
Carsales.com said it expects moderate growth in the second half of the year despite its finance and related services business continuing to be impacted by credit tightening, the result of the financial services royal commission and recent ASIC legislative changes.
"Whilst the display segment remains challenging, we are anticipating improving performance in the second half," Mr McIntyre said.
Carsales.com will pay an interim dividend of 20.5 cents, fully franked, unchanged from the prior corresponding period.
Shares in the company were down 7.55 per cent to $11.26 at 1125 AEDT, having dipped by as much as 9.4 per cent at Wednesday's open, though the stock was still trading higher than December's near two-year low of $10.64.
CARSALES.COM HY PROFIT SLIDES ON STRATTON WRITE-DOWN
* First-half net profit down 82pct to $11.1m
* Revenue up 17.2pct to $235m
* Interim dividend of 20.5 cents, fully franked, unchanged from a year ago