UPDATE 2-Domain Holdings Australia’s H1 revenue rise defies cooling market

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* Residential revenue up 8.6 pct

* Co halves interim dividend to 2 cents per share

* Shares jump over 6 percent following result (Adds shares rise in 2nd par)

SYDNEY, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Property classifieds platform Domain Holdings Australia on Friday clocked strong growth in its first-half revenue from its residential properties listings business, amid a slump in Australia’s once booming property market.

Revenue from its residential segment, its biggest earning unit, rose 8.6 percent to A$93.6 million ($66.5 million) for the six months ending Dec. 30, sending the company’s shares 6.7 percent higher in morning trade. The broader market was unchanged.

Tighter lending, higher taxes on foreigners and an apartment glut have driven the steepest price drops in a generation in Australia and pushed listings lower, especially in Sydney where Domain is a large player.

Domain said that while it faced “weakness in Sydney”, it countered an overall drop in listing volumes by increasing pricing and sales of its premium products.

Domain’s underlying net profit, which excludes one-time charges, came in at A$21.1 million for the first half, down 14.2 percent compared with net profit of A$24.7 million last year.

Weighing on results, half-year revenue for its print business fell about 23.6 percent due to weakness in residential listings particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

The company posted a statutory net loss of A$156.4 million for the first-half due to impairment of its Domain Digital GCU arm and other one off restructuring charges, sharply widening from the loss of A$3.4 million it posted last year.

It paid an interim dividend of 2 cents per share, down from 4 cents a year ago, due to non-cash impairments. Domain said it expected to boost its dividend in the second-half to at least 4 cents per share.

Domain had been the most profitable unit of publisher Fairfax Media Ltd and is now majority-owned by Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd. ($1 = 1.4075 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; additional reporting by Rashmi Ashok and Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Stephen Coates)

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