PropertyGuru Group Limited

Q4 2022 Earnings Conference Call


spk05: Looks like we have most of the attendees on, so we'll get started. So thank you, everyone, for standing by, and welcome to Property Guru Group fourth quarter 2022 earnings conference call. Currently, all participants are in a listen-only mode. As a reminder, today's program will be recorded. If anyone objects, please disconnect now. Now let me introduce Mr. Nat Otis, VP of Investor Relations. Mr. Otis, please go ahead.
spk00: Good evening. Welcome to Property Guru Group's fourth quarter 2022 earnings conference call. On the call today are Hari Krishnan, CEO and Managing Director, and Joe Dish, CFO. Before we get started, a few reminders. Firstly, all results are available in earnings release that can be found in the investor section of our website. Secondly, today's webcast is being recorded. Replay along with the transcript will also be available in the investor section of our website. Thirdly, we'll be making forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding our future results and expectations for the business. These results are neither promises nor guarantees and involve risk and uncertainties that may cause actual results to vary materially. Please refer to our earnings release and SEC filings for more information regarding risk factors. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and the company is not obliged to update them, except as required by law. Fourthly, this call will also contain non-IFRS financial measures. For a reconciliation of non-IFRS financial measures to the most directly comparable IFRS metric, please see our earnings press release. Lastly, all dollar references are in Singapore dollars unless otherwise stated. With that, let me turn the call over to Harith.
spk04: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today for our fourth quarter 2022 earnings conference call. 2022 was an exciting and historic year for Property Guru, as we listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March, grew revenues by a robust 35% for the full year, and were adjusted EBITDA positive. Hard work by all of our gurus, as well as an increased product adoption, improved pricing, and the continued integration of the iProperty acquisition all helped to offset challenging market conditions. That said, macro and fiscal policy uncertainty continues to test our customers. Given this reality, PropertyGuru will be there to help them navigate the current market as well as set them up to take advantage when landscapes shift and pent-up demand begins to float. We believe that the headwinds our core markets now face are largely temporary and the longer-term runway and underlying prospects for economic outperformance in Southeast Asia have not changed. In the International Monetary Fund's January 2023 World Economic Outlook, Southeast Asian markets are anticipated to grow at 4.3% in 2023, even as global growth is projected to decelerate to 2.9%. For Vietnam, the IMF has an even healthier outlook, with 6.2% growth projected in 2023. While property market activity was uneven in the fourth quarter, PropertyGuru still delivered strong results across its marketplaces segment. Led by Singapore's outperformance, where increased adoption of premium products and market pricing strength more than offset higher borrowing costs for property seekers and government implemented cooling measures. In Malaysia, while higher borrowing costs and uncertainty around the national elections in November impacted sales activity, just like in Singapore, property pricing remained resilient. In addition, PropertyGuru experienced strong operating leverage from the iProperty integration. In Vietnam, Q4 saw the continued theme of government tightening credit to manage debt levels and the resulting drop in property listings. Overall, the fourth quarter is a busy one for us as we continue to roll out solutions that make it easier for our customers to help people search, find, buy, and rent properties. In December, we launched Property Guru for Business, giving our enterprise customers a single trusted source for accessing the critical data and tools needed to maximize the significant opportunities presented by the Southeast Asian property markets. Property Guru for Business' unified offering gives customers our data sense, value net, fast key, and marketing as a service offerings, allowing for a more cohesive customer experience. Our market intelligence platform, DataSense, is now available in all of our markets. Previously, it had only been available in Malaysia. We had many exciting products that launched on our marketplaces, which solved both for paying customers and to drive greater transparency and trust in our high demand but low trust markets. Let me start by talking about Turbo, one of our hot new discretionary ad products. Turbo allows agents to differentiate themselves and increase the exposure of their listings on top of their basic subscription. It launched a year ago in late 2021 in Singapore and early 2022 in Malaysia. And we are pleased with agent adoption rates so far, with half of all active agents in Singapore and a third of all active agents in Malaysia having used it. Thanks to Turbo and other new discretionary products like Boost and Featured Agent, Property Guru's average revenue per agent continues to grow. In the fourth quarter, we launched Promoted Listings in Singapore, with releases in more markets expected in early 2023. Promoted Listings is a new performance-based dynamic ad product that helps agents find property seekers who are looking for similar but not exactly matching properties. A win-win technology that helps both the agent and the consumer. In Malaysia, we reached a milestone in our integration of iProperty and Property Guru Malaysia. Agents are now able to cross-post their listings on either platform using one software interface. So an agent who subscribes to both platforms can now post a listing on one or both platforms seamlessly. In Vietnam and Thailand, we launched two new premium products, verified listings and verified agents. Verified listings help give customers greater confidence in the market and combat the general challenge of fake listings. Verified agents is the start of us trying to help professionalize the agent market in Thailand and to help property seekers find agent partners they can trust. In Q4, we also inaugurated our first office space in India. India is our technology center of excellence that supports our product technology capabilities group-wide. Lastly, as we discussed on our prior earnings call, we are excited about our October acquisition of Sendhelper and its ability to connect homeowners and tenants with verified home services providers, bringing added value to the current Property Guru customer base. We see this acquisition as consistent with our new vision statement, which is to help our communities to live, work, and thrive in tomorrow's cities. To wrap things up, Singapore continues to be a strong performer, and in our other markets, we resiliently operated through temporary macro headwinds to deliver growth while exercising prudent expense management. In short, we are pleased with this quarter's result and with 2022 overall. we are well positioned to continue to be the go-to technology provider for Southeast Asian agents, developers, and property seekers in 2023 and beyond. Let me now turn the call over to Joe to review our financial performance.
spk06: Thanks, Hari. Property Guru capped off 2022 with another solid quarter of results. Revenues in the fourth quarter were $40 million, up 17% from the same period of 2021. Adjusted EBITDA in the quarter of $5 million was up a full $9 million from the same period in 2021, as we combine revenue growth with appropriate cost management. For the full year 2022, revenues were $136 million, up from $101 million in 2021, and adjusted EBITDA was $14 million, up from a loss of $10 million in the previous year. I would point out that at a margin of 11% in 2022, the incremental new revenue over 2021 had an almost 70% drop through to adjusted EBITDA, illustrating the operating leverage we have in our business. Turning to the quarter in more detail, marketplaces revenues were $38 million in Q4, up 15% year-on-year, and our adjusted EBITDA margin jumped to 48%, 19% in the fourth quarter of 2021. In Singapore, our pool of agents grew again this quarter, with over 15,500 in the fourth quarter. Our customer renewal rate was 79%, and our average revenue per agent, or ARPA, was up 20% from last year. As a result of both ARPA and the increase in agents, Singapore revenues were up 15% to $19 million in the quarter, and adjusted EBITDA was $11 million for a 61% margin. Turning to Malaysia, revenues were $8 million, up 28% from the prior year quarter, and our adjusted EBITDA increased to a positive $3 million from a negative $2 million over that same period. This illustrates the tremendous leverage from the iProperty integration as a revenue increase in the quarter of under 2 million produced an almost 5.5 million increase in adjusted EBITDA. Turning to Vietnam, revenues were down 7% for the fourth quarter of 2021 as the government's efforts to limit the availability of credit led to a 20% drop in the number of listings. While our business continues to be impacted by government attempts to slow inflation, we're encouraged by increased premium product penetration and listing duration, which both help the average revenue per listing, or ARPL, increase 22%. In addition, through improved operating leverage, our adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 190 basis points for 12.3% from 10.4%, even as revenues dropped 7%. Finally, FinTech and Data Services combined revenue was up 70% year-on-year, and adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $2 million. We are excited about the long-term opportunity in both businesses. Moving to the balance sheet, we ended the quarter with $309 million in cash, down from the last quarter primarily due to forex changes to our US dollar deposits. This level of deployable capital gives us comfort and flexibility to take advantage of acquisition opportunities as they arise. As we mentioned in our press release, the result of economic uncertainty, especially related to Vietnam and Malaysia, is to take a more cautious view of the market in the near term. Because of this, we're introducing a 2023 outlook with a revenue range between $160 and $170 million and an adjusted EBITDA range of $11 to $15 million. A couple of important data points with respect to adjusted EBITDA. Firstly, while we are very pleased with the long-term opportunity we see in the SEND helper acquisition, in 2023, integration and scaling efforts will weigh on adjusted EBITDA by $3 to $4 million. Secondly, going forward, the ongoing cost of being a listed entity will no longer be removed from our calculation of adjusted EBITDA and are anticipated to be between $11 and $12 million in 2023. Let me finish by underscoring our confidence in our core operations and the opportunities we see both now in challenging and uncertain conditions and in the future when markets revert to more positive growth trends. We're excited by our ability to add additional resources through strategic M&A, develop new market defining technologies and maximize efficiency through greater internal automation and prudent cost management. On a personal note, I want to thank our customers for their ongoing support and our gurus for their huge effort over the past year, not just for managing through complex and changeable market conditions to deliver tremendous results, but doing so with the added level of oversight and complexity that comes with being a publicly traded company. Now I'll turn the call over for questions. Operator, we're ready for our first question.
spk05: All right. Thank you, Joe. So we're going to take questions now. Please use the raised hand function if you want to ask a question. And to facilitate the Q&As, I will invite you to ask a question and unmute you at that point. Please state your name and your firm name before asking the question. So let's take a second here for them to come. We're going to start with Fawn Chang. Fawn, you're live.
spk01: Yep. Thanks for taking my question. Hi, Joe. Hey, Harry. First, congrats on a very strong quarter and also very healthy, solid, I think, 2023 outlook. You mentioned actually in your, I think, opening remark, you know, there are some moving parts. in regard to some of the region you're covering right now. Just wondering, you know, what's the current situation you have observed? And of course, it's probably hard to predict, but how do you expect the market will most likely shaping up, you know, for the rest of the year? And also in regard to your guidance, you know, what are the puts and takes? You could, I think, you know, give additional color, you know, which might surprise us on the upside or potentially on the downside.
spk04: Thanks for your question, Paan. I think let me get started and ask Joe to sort of chime in after. So answering the first part of your question, I think our markets are at different stages of openness with regards to the property sector. I think I mentioned that Singapore has done really well, even though transaction volumes are down, you see property prices holding very well. They appreciate it significantly through 2022. And even in the into 23, we're projecting that they will at least hold up pretty well. We are seeing more and more supply come online. So if you think about it in terms of the dynamics of demand and supply, you are seeing extremely high demand and that's what's driving that price stability, if you like. And even though supply is coming online, we're still projecting prices holding. So that gives you a sense of the size of the demand in Singapore. So I think Singapore, it still looks like a good space. We have a lot of agents in the marketplace. ARPA, average revenue per agent grew very well. So I think that looks very healthy. When you look at some of the other markets, in particular Vietnam, it's definitely a policy decision from the government to make sure that the country does not have any of the challenges that other markets, like in particular China, have had. And so they have been very vocal and open about talking about the fact they want to make sure developers don't have any defaults and that even consumers don't, you know, household indebtedness levels don't get out of control. Having said all of that, we do remain optimistic that we're getting some indications that at some point in H1, they will start to open it up a little bit. And it is a material driver of the GDP. So we do believe it's more about making sure that the demand and supply are managed rather than trying to kill the sector. And in Malaysia, you know, we've just finished Chinese New Year. The market looks good. Our market position obviously is very strong. The election sort of has been put to bed in Q4. So we're looking forward to, you know, business starting up and doing really well this year. And maybe Joe, if you have anything to add to that. Great. Yeah.
spk01: Thanks, Harry. That's very helpful. Second question is actually regarding your acquisition on, you know, SendHelper. It seems like very incremental to your Singapore business. Just wonder, you know, where the business is right now in terms of financial impact to your top line, bottom line for 2023? And where do we expect this potential synergy down the road, whether it's on the revenue side or potentially on the cost side? And do you expect any, you know, break-even or profitability timeline for the business, you know, going forward?
spk06: That's a good question. Just in terms of the financials, you know, we've disclosed here some of the sort of the impact on our adjusted EBITDA for next year, for this year. Just as a point of reference, it's rolled up into our DSS portfolio. So we won't be spitting it out individually or giving any individual guidance. I think what I will say is, you know, it's a small startup and we're definitely in investment phase. Hence, there's some sort of losses as we start to integrate and really start to scale the business. But we're really very excited. As we mentioned before, we came across the business because they were advertising on our site. So obviously there's some good sort of high intent traffic that we had that converted well for them. So I think, you know, one of the things we're doing is looking at how do we cross refer the audience that we have to send helper. That ultimately will obviously lower cost of marketing and make the business more successful, but also vice versa. It's very useful once somebody has completed a purchase or a rental. They would often drift away from our site. They don't need to use it every day. They can then engage and send help. And we can refer that traffic back to us, which again also adds to the ecosystem. So there's definitely some very good sort of linkages between those two businesses. And we're very excited about the opportunity in the future.
spk01: Understood, Joe. Just a quick follow up there. Any M&A, I think plans, targets? you guys have in mind for 2023?
spk06: Yeah, there's nothing to disclose at this moment. I think one of the good things about going through the listing process was that we've certainly generated a fair amount of attention for ourselves and we've definitely been a focus of businesses in the region that are open to a transaction that have approached us. We've also been proud, we've been really investing in an M&A team And also an integration team as well. And that's now fully set up. So we've got the right bandwidth internally to be able to affect transactions. I think one thing we've learned is that it can be quite draining on an organization to do this kind of M&A work and also to integrate. So now we've got these separate teams. We should be able to make the transactions and integrate them and keep the core business running well and efficiently. So I think we're well placed. We remain really interested in fintech and data. In home services, we're obviously made to send helper acquisition and developer operating systems. So our interest areas remain the same. And we've definitely got a few exciting things that we're looking at at the moment.
spk01: Understood. Thanks so much. And congrats again. I'll go back to Keith.
spk05: Thank you. Great. Thanks, Juan. The next question is going to be Nelson Chung.
spk02: Hi, management. Thanks for taking my questions and congrats on the very solid quarterly result. My first question is a follow-up question regarding your revenue guidance. Just wonder how would management prioritize your strategic resource, your allocation in different priority markets in 2023? And given the ongoing headwinds in Vietnam, how should we manage our investment in this market in this year? Thank you.
spk04: Thank you, Nelson. Maybe I'll get started. And again, if I miss something, Joe can jump in. So I think with regards to our priority markets, it remains still very much Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam. With regards to our marketplaces segments, as I mentioned in my remarks, Singapore is still very strong. So we're still investing. I mentioned some of the new products we've launched. Some of them are in only one market and not rolled out across the board. Things like sponsor listings, et cetera. So I think there is going to continue to be a good investment of product and technology and monetizing Singapore. As with Malaysia as well, we see a lot of, particularly property group of business and some of our enterprise products do very well in Malaysia. And so we're looking for that as that market opens up. Specific to Vietnam, we are still very bullish on what are the prospects there, our Asian partners, and definitely the demand on remains very high. So I think there is still very much people doing research, getting ready, trying to make sure they understand this. The key thing, though, is obviously clarity from the government on the policies around indebtedness. We don't expect that to clear in Q1, but we're optimistic or rather hopeful, I should say, that we'll get clarity in Q2 and get started building that out. So I think for Vietnam, it's going to be a slower H1, if I'm being honest. But, you know, I'd say Singapore is looking very strong and our emerging businesses like FinTech and data services are also coming off a low base, but we continue to be bullish.
spk02: Thank you. And my second question is regarding your fintech and data services business. Since we saw a very solid growth in fourth quarter, can management elaborate more about the growth driver on it? And what should we think about the monetization prospect going into 2023?
spk04: Yeah, so I think with FinTech and data services, definitely these are younger businesses. We run a lot of experiments, both of the business model, as well as when it comes to acquiring customers, trying different things. And so I wouldn't read too much into quarter on quarter variances. I think definitely some of the, slowdowns in Q4. For data services in particular, Malaysia slowed down significantly because they had a national elections in November. And so, I mean, the entire sector, most of the economy actually wasn't really at full swing. And so that isn't entirely surprising. Data services, a lot of the revenue comes from that country. And with regards to fintech, again, we saw, as I mentioned in the opening remarks, or rather in the Q&A, the transaction volumes in Singapore dropped off a little bit. quite a bit rather, through the year as, you know, as interest rates rose and such. And so as transaction volumes drop, you will see a little bit of a slowdown there. But I think obviously because we are gaining market share, there's still, you know, we still continue to grow, just perhaps not as fast as we would have liked to. But I would really stress that for those two markets, we don't have the entire product suite rolled out or nailed. It's not quite like marketplaces in Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam where product market fit is extremely good. In these other markets, other businesses, sorry, these adjacencies, we're still innovating and you can expect a little bit of variance.
spk02: I see. Thank you. And my last question is regarding cost and cost control. I just wonder, management, if you could elaborate more on your cost optimization strategy in this year. Which cost component should we expect a greater optimization or reduction in this year?
spk06: Yeah, thank you. Look, I mean, we are we're a growth company and we're still focused on investing in our business. So I think it's really sort of focus is the most important thing for us. So we've definitely been through a process through our planning cycle this year where we've really sort of optimised our spends, where we've looked, where we want to invest hardest. We definitely made some decisions of products and the like that haven't necessarily been the right way forward. So we've really focused ourselves and that's really the key. So, you know, we, we continue to, you know, to, to invest in the business in new products and services. Things don't stand still in our market. And we, you know, we intend to service our customers, you know, as effectively as we possibly can with those new products and services. I think on the marketing side, you know, You know, we definitely look to optimize. We have strict shots, strong search SEO positions that we don't need to spend quite as much on on SEM and search. We've been optimizing on that front. And I think more generally on the people's side, we've been very selective in terms of, you know, where we're hiring in order to sort of to service our broader needs of the business. You know, looking backwards to the end of last year, I'm really proud of the way the business responded to some of the sort of the revenue challenges that we had. You can see from the really strong EBITDA results, you know, we really sort of optimised spend really effectively and efficiently in the back end of the year, which we're all very pleased about. And we'll continue that selective process through in 2023.
spk02: Thank you. That's very helpful. And thanks, Harry and Joe. I will go back to Kirin. Thank you.
spk05: Okay. If we have any other questions, please click the raise hand. Okay. Our next questioner is Maximilian. Go ahead.
spk03: Thanks, Gary. Hi, Joe. Hi, Harry. Congrats for the strong quarter. Yeah. I just have one short question as a follow-up for your property group or business. So just wanted to ask, do you see any meaningful impact since you segregated the business from consumer side as well as from business side? In other words, do you see any meaningful impact from separating the services from property guru, from business, from your main property guru website? Or is there any further expectations for you moving forward regarding that side? Thanks.
spk04: No, thank you for that question. You know, when you look at property guru for business, it's an overarching brand umbrella that covers a variety of solutions, which I mentioned in my opening remarks. So you've got everything from data sense and fast key and value net, which are all part of our data services unit. But you also have marketing as a service, which is really offered by our marketplaces unit. The point here is more that we're able to give a coherent and a cohesive solution to our enterprise clients. So if you're a developer, a bank or an urban planner, et cetera, you're able to sort of look at all our solutions in a coherent manner, understand what's right for your problem set and solve for it. We really see it as very powerful because if you look at some of the more developed real estate markets around the world, access to high quality real estate data in the form of a dashboard is sort of pretty critical, as well as workflow automation software is core to the efficiency of everyone from valuers to real estate developers when it comes to how they go about conducting their business. We continue to hear very good demand from our customers. And I think, you know, we don't see any dissonance in the fact that we have a consumer-oriented marketplace, which is really around helping people find their home. And, you know, increasingly, even in our marketplaces, obviously, we expanded our offerings to also... through FinTech allow things like helping to finance their own. But now increasingly we're helping people also manage their home better with things like SendHelper. But coming to data services and property growth for business, it's really around what's that infrastructure with which our enterprise clients are interacting with the world out there and how can we impact that? You know, having been in the market now 15, 16 years, we're pretty confident that we have a good sense of what are the problems faced by some of these enterprise clients. And, you know, we're getting started there, but I think there's no disconnect in terms of the pursuit of the vision between the groups. Hopefully that answered the question.
spk03: Yeah, that's very helpful. Thank you. Thanks.
spk05: Okay. Any other questions, please click the raise hand. We'll give it a second to see if there's any others. Okay. We don't see any other questions, so we'll wrap up the Q&A. I'll turn the call back to Hari for any closing remarks.
spk04: Thank you all for joining us today. I would like to reiterate how pleased we are with our performance in 2022 and look forward to speaking to you again next quarter. Thanks so much.
spk05: All right. Thank you, everyone. You can all disconnect.

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