Online comparison website iSelect has returned to profit in the first half, partly due to a significant increase in customers using its electricity and telecommunications providers’ referral service.
The company, which compares health insurance, life insurance and other financial products, made a $2.6 million profit in the six months to December 31, up from a $4.2 million loss it made in the prior corresponding period.
Revenue rose 18 per cent to $78 million following staff cuts at the group’s contact centre and an increase in customers using its energy and broadband comparison and referral service.
The company said “operational disciplines” at the contact centre and the return of successful recruitment and training programs also helped boost revenue.
iSelect expects continued strong growth and has forecast its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for the full year to be in the upper range of its $21 million-$24 million guidance.
Chief executive Scott Wilson said the group’s turnaround strategy was working.
“Our new management structure, systems and procedures are fully embedded and performing very well,” Mr Wilson said.
He said the private health insurance sector continued to experience headwinds, mainly linked to people not being able to afford it.
“Despite the external market softening, iSelect continues to outperform the industry given the product solutions we provide our customers, delivering both revenue and profit growth,” he said.
He said the group’s energy and telco comparison service was the company’s stand-out business with national broadband network (NBN) connections now making up 30 per of the group’s broadband sales.
As the network’s rollout spreads across the country, Mr Wilson said, iSelect expects its NBN connections will make up 50 per cent of its broadband sales in coming months.
Shares in iSelect were down two cents, or 1.1 per cent, at $1.80 at 1223 AEDT.
ENERGY & TELCO BOOSTS ISELECT RESULTS:
* Half-year net profit of $2.6m, up from $4.2m loss
* Revenue up 18 pct to $78m, from $66.2m
* Interim dividend of 1.5 cents, fully franked, up from one cent a share