OzForex makes flying start and looks to US for expansion

Online currency group OzForex has passed its first test as a listed company, reporting a 14 per cent rise in net profit to $9.5 million for the first half of the year.

Online currency group OzForex has passed its first test as a listed company, reporting a 14 per cent rise in net profit to $9.5 million for the first half of the year.

The result beat OzForex’s prospectus forecasts by 7 per cent.

OzForex listed on the stock exchange last month after an IPO that raised $439.4 million.

On their ASX debut, OzForex shares opened 30 per cent higher than the $2 IPO price, at $2.59. The stock rose as high as $2.88, and at the close of trading on Wednesday was up 1.5 per cent at $2.69.

‘‘We’ve historically run the company like a publicly listed company in terms of the governance that we follow,’’ chief executive Neil Helm said.

‘‘From our perspective there is not a significant change except that we have further interaction with investors, the media and analysts now that we’re listed.’’

The company said active clients, those who have traded in the past year, had also beat prospectus forecasts, jumping 29 per cent to 107,000 in the first half.

Net fee and commission income grew 44 per cent to $34.3 million, while the average transaction size increased 22 per cent to $23,100.

The company said it was on track to meet its full-year profit forecast of $18.6 million, excluding the costs of listing.

Mr Helm said that while there had been a lot of IPOs in the second half of 2013, that did not hurt OzForex’s listing. ‘‘The IPO market certainly seems to have heated up recently, but from an OzForex perspective it was the right time for our shareholders to list.’’

While OzForex continues to expand into overseas markets in Asia, Europe and the US, Australia still made up 53 per cent of fee and commission income. North America accounted for 11 per cent of income in the first half.

Mr Helm said there were huge growth opportunities in the US and OzForex would continue to try to push into the market, with licences in 32 US states.

‘‘A year ago, they only had licences in a dozen or so states,’’ Shaw Stockbroking head of research Martin Crabb said. ‘‘They now have 32 and they’re on their way to have the other 15 or 16 by this time next year.

‘‘If you look historically it’s quite a small part of their business. Going forward you’ve obviously got 300 million very wealthy people and a massive foreign exchange market.’’

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