Escrow acquisition undoes Freelancer's AU$1.43m operating cash flow

Despite posting an annual net operating cash flow of AU$1.43 million, Freelancer has recorded a total operating and investing cash flow loss of AU$9.7 million following the AU$10.2 million acquisition of

Outsourcing marketplace Freelancer has finished 2015 with net operating cash flow of AU$1.43 million for the year, with AU$362,000 being added during the fourth quarter.

The company's biggest news for the year came in the form of the $7.5 million acquisition of online fraud protection outfit

Although the acquisition was announced in April, the deal with the California-based third party payments vendor was not paid for until the fourth quarter, with Freelancer spending just over AU$10 million on the purchase in November.

The purchase reduced its total operating and investing cash flow to a AU$9.7 million loss for 2015.

The online marketplace told shareholders on Friday that it booked record cash receipts just shy of AU$12 million for the quarter, up 62 percent year-on-year, and as of December 31, Freelancer also held cash equivalents of AU$32.2 million.

By the end of 2015, had more than 16 million total registered users, and more than 8 million total projects and contests posted.

The positive net operating cash flow comes in the wake of its 2014 slump, which saw Freelancer down AU$100,000 in operating cash flow with a net loss after tax of AU$1.5 million.

In July, the marketplace reported a half-yearly operating net loss after tax of AU$800,000 for the period ending June 2015, pushing past its AU$600,000 operating net loss after tax in the same half year-on-year.

For the six months ending June 30, the company also saw a deeper loss on its reported operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), posting a loss of AU$1 million.

At the time, Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie told shareholders that the company had seen 40.8 percent year-on-year growth on to post AU$16.8 million in net revenue, saying that the company is proud of having recorded such a high increase.

"We are continuing to focus on the product, user experience, scalability, and expanding the features of the marketplace offering," Barrie said. "We will also continue to focus on expanding the functionality and penetration of our platform across mobile devices, and will continue to expand across regional and multilingual markets, and further across job categories."

For the third quarter, Freelancer improved on its half-year results despite still posting net operating loss of AU$33,000.

During the first half of 2015, Freelancer also acquired the assets of online freelance job marketplace Donanza for an undisclosed sum in early March, after it had shut its services down in July 2013.

In addition, the company also bolstered its European presence, acquiring the assets of Spanish online freelancer marketplace Projectlinkr later that month, once again for an undisclosed amount.

Earlier this month, Barrie announced that Escrow's gross payment volume in 2015 topped $430 million, a 28 percent increase from the $310 million recorded in 2014. This was reflected by the total number of users of Escrow during the year, which reached 900,000, approximately an increase of 100,000 users from 2014.

Looking forward, Freelancer said it would be extending on its existing partnership with NASA through the NASA Tournament Lab to design concepts for a robotic arm for the Astrobee freeflying robot.

According to Freelancer, over a thousand UX, graphic, engineering, and industrial designers took part in NASA's freelance projects in 2015.

In August, Freelancer completed a AU$10 million share placement of ordinary shares, at the sale price of AU$1.40 per share. Alongside the placement of shares, Barrie sold AU$12 million worth of existing Freelancer shares -- or 4 percent of his stake -- to institutional investors.