Wotif shares take a dive
SHARES in Wotif suffered their biggest one-day fall in five years after first-half profit slid 5 per cent and the company conceded it was not "getting its fair share" of the benefits from Australians travelling overseas in record numbers.
The company, whose sites include lastminute.com and LateStays, increased revenue from its core sites in Australia and New Zealand, but its Asian business underperformed.
Wotif posted a 5 per cent fall in net profit to $27.5 million for the first half, which it blamed on increased costs from online marketing, web maintenance and staff. Revenue fell 1 per cent to $73.2 million.
Shares in Wotif fell as much as 11 per cent on Wednesday but recovered some ground to close 47¢ lower at $5.37.
Wotif's total transaction value - the price at which travel products and services are sold - was unchanged on the same period last year at $595 million.
Chief executive Scott Blume said its online booking for accommodation in Australia and New Zealand was positive in a "generally lacklustre domestic retail environment". But it was offset by a 19 per cent fall in revenue from its Asian websites and those that sell overseas hotel rooms from Australian websites such as lastminute.com.
"With the increase in ... Australians travelling in Asia, we haven't been getting our fair share," he said.
"I just don't think we have done a great job ... to position ourselves to get some upside as a result of the Aussies with the strong dollar continuing to travel aggressively outside Australia."
Wotif paid an interim dividend of 11.5¢ a share on Wednesday.