Bourse Discourse: WEB, NUF

Thursday’s ASX rout made it a tough day to be releasing results, but the show must go on. Here’s the latest from travel firm Webjet and agricultural chemical company Nufarm.


Online travel and accommodation site Webjet (ASX: WEB) has managed to scramble back to positive cash flow and profitability in the second-half of its 2022 year but the full year result was still stained by red ink.

Underlying EBITDA loss for the year to March 31 was $15 million which the company said “reflected a $103 million improvement compared to the 12 months to 31 March 2021.”

On a statutory basis, the net loss after tax improved to $85 million from $156.6 million (for the 9 months to March 31 after which Webjet changed its balance date to March 31).

Webjet said improving business in 2022 had generated around roughly $4 million a month on average in surplus cash compared to $5.5m million a month average cash burn in the 2021 financial year

Total transaction volumes and revenue jumped 262% and 466% respectively for the 12 months to March 31, compared to a year ago, whereas expenses rose just 7%. That’s what you call very positive ‘jaws’ (the rate of growth in costs and revenue – in this case the faster growth in revenue is positive’ jaws’, not the movie).

Webjet said it held cash of $434 million at March 31, which is a sign management is being cautious and carrying enough liquidity in case Covid returns to close economies and choke off travel once again.

And the company said 2022-23 had started strongly “with all businesses profitable in April with indications of a further strong uplift in May. “

“As at May 2022, WebBeds’ Total Transaction Value (TTV) was ahead of May 2019, Webjet OTA bookings are tracking at c.80% of pre-pandemic levels and GoSee TTV is tracking at c75% of pre- pandemic levels.”

Webjet’s Managing Director John Guscic said in a statement with the results:

“We are now cash flow positive, our two largest businesses returned to profitability and we are seeing markets rebound strongly as travel restrictions continue to ease. WebBeds returned to profitability in the second half.”

“Our investment in North America is paying off with booking volumes for that business now already more than double what they were pre-pandemic, and all the work undertaken to drive efficiencies saw costs remain significantly below pre-pandemic levels. Webjet OTA was profitable for the full year despite widespread lockdowns, border closures and the impact of Omicron from December.

“Domestic bookings spiked as borders opened, reflecting Webjet OTA’s strength in servicing the domestic leisure market, however international bookings have been subdued with airline capacity still well below pre-pandemic levels.

“Profitability for GoSee is highly linked to Australian and New Zealand international border openings and that business continued to be impacted by border closures for the majority of FY22, although we saw Cars TTV exceed pre-pandemic levels in March driven by domestic markets.”

The market took this on board and pushed the shares up 1.3% to $5.87 on a day when the wider market lost 115 points.


Shareholders in Nufarm (ASX: NUF) will get an interim dividend of 4 cents a share – the first for four years – despite an obviously strong rebound in revenue and earnings in the half year to March 31.

The company has already guided to the vastly improved result, thanks to better conditions in its main rural markets in Australia with the breaking of the drought and plentiful rain (but not floods)

Nufarm said underlying EBITDA was up 41% on the previous corresponding period to $330 million on a 31% leap in revenue of $2.2 billion.

Statutory net profit after tax of $99 million rose 61% while underlying net profit after tax of $133 million was up 112%.

Directors said the result “validates strategy and reflects good management through volatile global conditions” and the company is facing a “positive outlook with favourable industry fundamentals.”

Reflecting the improvement in the company’s outlook the 4 cents a share dividend is the first interim paid since 2018 after the drought hit the company very hard,

CEO Greg Hunt said in a statement with the earnings release “This is a very strong result for Nufarm, validating our strategy and reflecting good management through volatile global conditions.”

“While we have benefited from healthy seasonal demand in our markets and higher grain prices, we are also reaping the outcomes of the hard work undertaken in recent years to transform the company.

“Our focus on core crops and key geographies is delivering strong results. Our seed technologies platforms continue to hit strategic milestones and provide significant growth opportunities for the company.

“Our transformation and continued focus have allowed us to navigate the uncertainty and volatility of the current global climate to deliver pleasing earnings growth for shareholders.

“Despite some concerns around global supply chains and inflation, the growth outlook and prospects for our industry remain clear. The fundamental need to grow more food to meet the needs of growing populations is ever present.

“The outlook for the full year remains positive. Current industry conditions are highly favourable with grain prices likely to remain elevated driving increased planting and demand for crop protection products. Full year results are anticipated to be proportionately more weighted to the first half compared to FY21, given the elevated forward sales due to global uncertainty and volatility in relation to active ingredient pricing, global supply chain and logistics challenges.

“Our five-year growth aspirations remain unchanged as per the detailed strategy presentation in February. We see a credible path to over $4 billion revenue by 2026, with our seed technologies business aspiring to revenues of between $600-$700 million in 2026.”

The shares fell more than 8% because the company revealed that some of its customers were bringing forward orders to try and offset expectations of price rises later in the year.

Investors took that to mean revenue and earnings will be lighter than expected in the six months to the end of September, so they sold.

The shares ended down 8.5% at $6.07.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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