Shares in online contracts for difference (CFD) trading platform Plus500 (PLUS) gained 4.3% to £13.07 after the firm reported a sharp increase in first half earnings and dividends and a new share buyback programme.

Group revenues for the six months to 30 June increased by 281% to $564.2 million, driven by ‘heightened volatility in unprecedented market conditions and the high quality and consistent performance of Plus500's technology platform’ according to the firm.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew an even more impressive 452% to $361.8 million during the period, allowing the firm to declare an interim dividend of $0.95 per or 72.6 p per share, an increase of 249% on last year’s interim payout.

Also, having bought back $38.9 million or roughly £30 million of shares in the first half, the company announced a new buyback programme of $67.3 million or £51.5 million for the rest of the year.

RECORD NUMBERS

The firm registered record customer income of $556.9 million, up 218% on the first half of last year, with more than 47 million customer trades compared with 17.5 million previously.

It also registered ‘unprecedented’ levels of new customers and active customers with relatively low levels of churn. Client deposits soared 254% from $467.1 million to $1.653 billion during the year.

While market volatility is expected to normalise in the second half compared with the heightened levels of the first half, chief executive officer David Zruia said the board was ‘very confident about the outlook for the business’ both for the rest of the year and over the long term.

The group’s financial position remains ‘extremely robust’ according to Zruia, with zero debt, strong cash conversion and $587.8 million of own cash at the end of June, allowing it to continue investing in technology to attract new customers.

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Issue Date: 11 Aug 2020