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Plus500 Finish 2019 in good financial and operational shape

Plus500 Limited (LON:PLUS), a leading online service provider for trading Contracts for Difference internationally, today announced its preliminary unaudited results for the year ended 31 December 2019.

Financial Highlights:

· 2019 was a year of two distinct halves with strong improvement in H2 2019:

o Robust performance across all key metrics in H2 2019 compared to H1 2019, which was impacted by extremely low volatility in Q1 2019. Strong H2 2019 was mainly driven by increased trading opportunities identified by customers, reflecting more volatile market conditions during the rest of the year:

o H2 2019 revenues up 40% vs. H1 2019, to $206.5 million (H1 2019: $148.0 million) (FY 2019: $354.5 million, FY 2018: $720.4 million);

o H2 2019 EBITDA1 up 93% vs. H1 2019, to $126.7 million (H1 2019: $65.6 million) (FY 2019: $192.3 million, FY 2018: $506.0 million);

o H2 2019 Net Profit up 94% vs. H1 2019, to $100.1 million (H1 2019: $51.6 million) (FY 2019: $151.7 million, FY 2018: $379.0 million);

o 2019 marked the first full year of trading under the new regulatory regime introduced by European regulators, with customer trading patterns adjusting through the year;

· Maintained robust financial position:

o Sustained high operating cash conversion2 of 88% in 2019 (FY 2018: 98%), supported by a highly efficient, lean and cash generative business model, resulted in year end cash and cash equivalents of $292.9 million, following distribution of $148.3 million in shareholder returns during the year;

· Continue to deliver significant shareholder returns:

o 100% of 2019 net profit proposed to be distributed to shareholders – equivalent to a total of $151.7 million, consisting of interim and final dividends totalling $71.7 million and $80 million in share buyback programmes:

o Interim dividend of $30.9 million distributed in November 2019 and a $50 million share buyback programme announced in August 2019 executed in full;

o Final dividend of $40.8 million (FY 2018: $70.2 million), $0.3767 per share (FY 2018: $0.6191 per share);

o The Board intends to conduct a further share buyback programme in 2020 to purchase up to $30 million of the Company’s shares;

Operational Highlights:

· Average of approximately 3 million customer trades per month in 2019;

· Average deposit per Active Customer3 increased 19% year on year at $5,116 (FY 2018: $4,284), reflecting our customers’ continued and strong trust in our trading platform;

· Continued investment in technology and innovation to further enhance the Group’s customer proposition through the introduction of new features, trading instruments and trading tools, support channels and an improved customer interface;

· Increased focus on our core markets and continued expansion of global presence:

o Successfully retained leading industry positions in core markets as the largest CFD provider in the UK4, Germany5 and Spain6 and as the top rated mobile platform among CFD traders in Australia7;

o Following the year end, a new securities dealer licence was issued by the Financial Services Authority in the Seychelles, further complementing the Group’s seven existing regulatory licences internationally and reflects the Group’s robust regulatory regime;

Current Trading:

· Positive momentum has continued into 2020, reflecting heightened levels of volatility in the financial markets due to global events;

· The Board maintains its confidence in the Group’s prospects for the year ahead.

Asaf Elimelech, Chief Executive Officer of Plus500, commented:

“We finished 2019 in good financial and operational shape following a period of changes for the industry, which has provided a more certain regulatory outlook for Plus500 and the industry as a whole.

“We were particularly pleased with the strong improvement in financial performance in the second half of 2019 and believe that customer trading patterns have now adjusted following the regulatory changes introduced in Europe last year. We continue to monitor and prepare for any potential product intervention measures that are expected to take place in Australia during 2020.

“I am also encouraged by the trading momentum we have shown through the year end, reflecting continued optimisation of our marketing spend, enhancements to our customer service, improvements in our proprietary technology platform and additional cost optimisation.

“We are further pleased in our ability to provide significant value to our shareholders with the delivery of strong returns representing 100% of our 2019 net profit.

“Looking forward to 2020 we are confident of the prospects for the Group as we focus on further strengthening our customer offering and market positions, thereby delivering growth and further strong shareholder returns.”

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