String of acquisitions hits Freelancer.com earnings

A series of recent acquisitions has put Freelancer.com's earnings for the half-year ending June 2014 in the red, with the company reporting an operating loss of AU$600, 000 for the six-month period.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Australian-listed online freelancing services marketplace, Freelancer.com, has reported a half-yearly operating loss of AU$600,000 for the six months ending June 2014, just over its AU$500,000 operating net loss last year.

The company reported operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) loss of AU$800,000, also in excess of its EBITDA of AU$600,000 loss for the same period last year. 

The company told investors today that the result was "a result of the accelerated re-investment in future growth."

The company has acquired a number of online marketplace businesses over the past six months, including Warrior Forum, which it says is the largest internet marketing marketplace and community, along with virtual content marketplace Fantero.com, and Polish pure play marketplace, Zlecenia.przez.net.
Freelancer's half-yearly financial statement shows that it spent AU$3.6 million on acquisitions of other businesses during the period, and just under AU$6.7 million in total employee expenses.
Meanwhile, the company spent AU$11.5 million on its operations, with an increase in employee headcount, expanded office premises in Vancouver, London, and Manila, along with other "public company overheads".

However, the company's revenue was up for the half-year, generating net revenues of AU$11.9 million, up 41 percent on the AU$8.5 million for the same period last year.

The company told shareholders that this boost was mainly driven by continued growth in the group's user base, an increase in gross payment volume, and an improved "take rate".

Freelancer claims it took on an additional 2.8 million users for the six-month period — approximately 1 million of which came on board thanks to new acquisitions.

Gross profit for the half year ending June was AU$10.5 million, an increase of 41 percent from its result of AU$7.5 million for the same period the previous year.

Freelancer founder and CEO Matt Barrie has made no secret of his ambitions for the company, telling ZDNet in April that he would eventually like to see the company facilitate "every job, every country, every language, for anyone with a laptop anywhere in the world".

In an ASX statement to shareholders, he said that he aims to build the company to match the size of some of the world's largest online sales behemoths, such as eBay and Amazon.

"The industry fundamentals behind what will be a global revolution in the way that we do work remain strong," Barry told shareholders. "We continue to believe that it is inevitable that a global marketplace for services will emerge, that will be of a similar size and scale as global marketplaces for products like eBay, Amazon and Alibaba.

"We are continuing to focus on improving scalability, strengthening the team, and expanding the marketplace offering," he said. "We will continue to focus on innovative product development, such as expanding our mobile offerings, and will continue to expand across regional and multilingual markets, and across job categories," he said.
No dividends were issued for the half year ended 30 June 2014.

The company claims to now have over 12.6 million registered users, who have posted more than 6.3 million projects to date.

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