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British property portal Rightmove hikes dividend after annual profit jump

(Reuters) -British real-estate portal Rightmove Plc on Friday raised its final dividend payment and posted a higher annual operating profit, supported by resilient traffic despite a less-frenetic property market.

Activity in the UK housing sector has eased in recent months, hurt by a dent in demand for new homes as high home-loan rates and broader recession fears drive away prospective buyers.

“The softening from the COVID-induced frenetic market towards a more normal market earlier in the year was disrupted in the final few months by the unexpected rapid mortgage rate increases,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Brooks-Johnson said in a statement.

Still, the company’s Average Revenue Per Advertiser (ARPA) – a key measure – rose 11% to 1,314 pounds ($1,573.25) per month, up from 1,189 pounds a year earlier.

The London-headquartered firm declared a final dividend of 5.2 pence per share, up from 4.8 pence a year ago.

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The FTSE-100 firm, which runs the country’s largest property website, posted an operating profit for the year ended Dec. 31 at 241.3 million pounds, compared with company-compiled average analysts’ estimates of 242.2 million pounds.

($1 = 0.8349 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)


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