Online jobs finder SEEK is continuing its Asian expansion, and has posted half year profit growth of 29 per cent.
Investors have sent SEEK shares soaring after the jobs website posted a sizeable profit jump and said it would spend half a billion dollars on its expansion into Asia.
SEEK is to buy Kuala Lumpur-based online employment service JobStreet for $580 million through its majority-owned subsidiary SEEK Asia.
The company also posted a 29 per cent rise in half year net profit, after the exclusion of one-off items, and forecast even stronger growth in the second half of the financial year.
Its shares gained $2.37, or 17.8 per cent, to hit a record end-of-day high of $15.70.
SEEK’s profit in the six months to December 31, excluding a one-off gain from the sale of its stake in an education business, was a record $87.4 million, up from $67.5 million for the same period the previous year.
“The key drivers for growth were SEEK International and SEEK Education, with SEEK Domestic performing well in conditions that were far from buoyant,” he said.
The company expects its profit in the second half of 2013/14 to exceed its first half result.
JobStreet serves the rapidly growing markets of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, posting more than 150,000 job ads each month.
SEEK already owns a 22 per cent shareholding in JobStreet, and its purchase of the remainder is subject to regulatory approval in Singapore and the approval of JobStreet’s shareholders.
The company plans to combine JobStreet with JobsDB, its other majority-owned Asian online employment business, to create “a compelling online employment marketplace” in Asia.
Mr Bassat said the combined JobStreet and JobsDB would be exposed to a total labour market of more than 140 million people – 14 times the size of the Australian market.