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Trade Me annual profit flat as increased expenses curb revenue growth

Trade Me, New Zealand's largest online auction site, posted a similar profit for its 2015 financial year to 2014 as increased spending ate into bigger revenues.

Net profit was little changed at $80.2 million, or 20.2 cents per share, in the year ended June 30, from $80.1 million, or 20.2 cents, the year earlier, the Wellington-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 11 percent to $199.7 million, while expenses increased 25 percent to $64.5 million.

Trade Me increased its full-time equivalent staff by about a third to 437 over the past year, to boost product development. Its expenses were also pushed higher by increased marketing, and the acquisitions of LifeDirect, MotorWeb and Paystation.

Chief executive Jon Macdonald said the company expects to deliver similar revenue growth in the current 2016 financial year, with lower expense growth in percentage terms.

Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 4.4 percent to $134.4 million in 2015, or by 5 percent when excluding losses from its acquisition in peer-to-peer lender Harmoney.

"We anticipate our Ebitda growth in the 2016 financial year will be similar to last year, and that the second half of the 2016 financial year will deliver a stronger financial performance than the first half," Macdonald said.

The company will pay a final dividend of 8.5 cents a share on Sept. 22, up from 8.4 cents a year earlier and taking the total dividend payment for the year to 16.2 cents, up from 16 cents in 2014.

Trade Me shares last traded at $3.10, and have shed 15 percent so far this year.