Another post today as it is Thursday and there always seems to be a flood of announcements on a Thursday. This time full year results from Auto Trader Group (AUTO) another member of the CISP.
The numbers at the headline level seem to be slightly ahead of the consensus forecasts, while good cash flow generation saw their debt decline and the leverage ratio fall to 1.5x EBITDA which is acceptable. Aside from the debt that their previous VC owners landed them with it also means they have a threadbare balance sheet with negative NAV or shareholders funds in recent years. Despite this they have been able to return £148.4m to shareholders via share buy backs of £96.2m and dividends of £52.2m while the dividend this year was raised by 13.5% to 5.9p.
The outlook reads pretty positively highlighting the up selling to their commercial customers and the wide take up of their finance offering although this is tempered by the on going caution on the private listing side of things. Nevertheless they are flagging further rise in turnover and margins (which are already very high) and are confident of hitting their growth targets for the year which seems to suggest another year of double digit growth.
Thus the shares don't seem too fully valued on around 18x for the coming year especially when compared to other on line disrupters like Rightmove & Purplebricks. Indeed we saw Zoopla taken out recently, so I wouldn't be surprised if this one attracted a takeover at some point given their growth, profitability and market position. It still Scores well on the CIS so it remains in the portfolio for now.