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Serko sees jump in 1H trading revenue

Serko sees jump in 1H trading revenue and still expects FY net profit

By Rebecca Howard

July 18 (BusinessDesk) - Online travel booking software firm Serko said it expects first half trading revenue to be 25 percent to 30 percent higher on the year, excluding gains or losses on Australian dollar revenue hedging, and reiterated it is expecting to post a full year net profit.

Serko said it expects its first half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, or ebitda, to be positive at approximately $1 million versus a loss of $1.75 million in the prior year. It reiterated that it is expecting to report a net profit for the full year to March 31 versus a loss of $3.3 million in the 2017 financial year.

It said its budgeted Australian dollar revenue is largely hedged to the New Zealand dollar at approximately 93.00 Australian cents.

Serko said the second half of the financial year is "typically weaker than the first due to the seasonal effects of low volumes of corporate travel in December and January." It also said it expects to increase headcount and therefore remuneration and benefit costs will be higher in the second half As a result, it is tipping both revenue and ebitda in the second half to be lower than the first half "but about break-even at the ebitda line."

It also noted that some recent contract wins may transition onto the Serko platform over the course of the second half and, depending on timing, this may represent upside in the second half results.

In 2014, the company raised $17 million selling shares at $1.10 apiece and existing investors sold a further $5 million into the offer, however, the stock has been punished as a slowing Australian economy and late product launches weighed on Serko's revenue.

Serko raised $8.1 million from institutional and existing investors at 84 cents apiece in late 2015 to help fund a marketing push and product launch, having previously signalled it didn't plan to go back to the market after its June 2014 initial public offering.

In March it said its existing Callaghan Innovation Grant has been extended for a further 2 years, to June 30, 2019 – with an additional value of $2 million. The new funding is an extension to a previous $4.2 million Callaghan Innovation Research and Development Growth Grant. The additional funding is being used to fuel development of its predictive technology, it said.

The stock last traded up 7 percent at $0.80 and is up 8.2 percent over the past year.

(BusinessDesk receives assistance from Callaghan Innovation to cover the commercialisation of innovation.)


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