Online trading platform Plus500 launches $55m share buyback as it makes ‘positive’ start to new year – but shares tumble as 2021 profits fall 26%
- Revenues down 18% to $718.7m – but are still more than double than 2019
- New customers down by a third, active customer base still double than 2019
- Plus500 to pay out dividends worth $60m to shareholders in July
Online trading platform Plus500 hailed a positive start to 2022 and announced a new share buyback programme, despite profits dropping by more than a quarter last year.
The latest annual results by the Israeli firm suggest that the meteoric rise in online trading, which began during the early days of the pandemic, is beginning to slow down.
Plus500 banked pre-tax profits of $387million for 2021, down 26 per cent from $523million in 2020, while revenues dropped 18 per cent to $718.7million.
Plus500 attracted fewer new clients in 2021, but active customer base is still double than 2019
However, its performance is still well ahead pre-pandemic levels, with revenues and profits before nasties more than double what it made in 2019.
Customer numbers show a similar picture, as new customers in 2021 declined by a third compared to 2020, while the number of active customers dropped slightly.
However, the group’s active customer base remains at double its pre-pandemic levels.
Chief executive David Zruia hailed ‘another excellent’ performance and a ‘positive start’ to the new financial year as he announced a new share buyback programme worth $55million.
‘The purpose of the new programme is to further emphasise the Board’s confidence in the prospects of Plus500 and reflects the robust financial position of the Group, as highlighted by the Group’s operational and financial performance in FY 2021,’ the company said.
It will also pay out dividends worth $60million to shareholders in July.
Plus500 shares tumbled 5.2 per cent to £14.44 in morning trading on Tuesday.
The stock has not risen much over the last year, just by around 4 per cent, but it’s up 60 per cent compared to February 2020, just before the pandemic.
Richard Sloss, director at Edison Group, is positive about Plus500’s outlook.
‘While top-line figures for FY21 show a waning in financial performance compared to 2020, the group’s enlarged customer base and substantial cash balance suggest a healthy outlook for Plus500.
‘With its recent acquisitions ensuring further growth potential in the US futures and options market and extensive buyback programmes and dividend payouts in 2022, shareholders should remain upbeat.’
Plus500 lets investors trade on complex financial instruments such as contracts for difference through its website and mobile app.
It made its first move into the US futures and options market with the acquisition of Cunningham Commodities and Cunningham Trading Systems earlier in the year.
It has also benefited from recent favourable tax rate changes in Israel, that have boosted its coffers and left its with a cash balance of $749million, which according to analysts ‘leaves the door open for further potential acquisitions in future’.
Plus500 shares have risen by around 60% since February 2020