February 18, 2018 / 11:17 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Seek posts flat H1 profit; sees higher FY18 core earnings

(Adds background, FY18 guidance & CEO comment)

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Australian job classifieds portal Seek Ltd on Monday reported a flat half-year underlying profit, impacted by a rise in operating expenses, and upgraded its full-year core earnings guidance.

The company reported an underlying profit of A$114 million ($90.2 million) for the six months ended Dec. 31, compared to A$113.6 million the previous year.

Seek said operating expenses for the latest period rose to A$473.3 million from A$362 million a year ago, driven mainly by reinvestment in its international business, which contributes 55 percent of sales revenue, as well as higher interest expenses.

The company’s Chinese subsidiary Zhaopin, which makes up a large chunk of its international business, reported revenue growth of 19 percent.

“Zhaopin achieved a good result which was achieved despite a significant change in business model and aggressive competition. To continue growing against strong competition and to capitalise on a large market opportunity, Zhaopin will continue its aggressive reinvestment focus,” CEO Andrew Bassat said in a statement.

For the full year, Seek said it expected growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 14 percent to 15 percent, up from about 13 percent previously, and said it is on track to achieve full-year revenue growth in the range of 20 percent and 25 percent.

$1 = 1.2645 Australian dollars Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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