March 1, 2019 / 8:47 AM / 8 months ago

Rightmove shares fall on slowing full-year profit growth

FILE PHOTO: Rain clouds gather behind a row of terraced houses in Altrincham, northern England, Britain, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) - Property website Rightmove Plc on Friday reported its slowest full-year underlying operating profit growth in nine years hit by increasing competition, sending its shares down as much as 7 percent.

The company’s shares were the biggest loser on UK’s blue-chip index and were down 5 percent at 458 pence.

Rightmove, which competes with OnTheMarket and Zoopla, has been working on strategies to add more listings to its website.

“We believe the competitive environment is getting tougher ... on top of this, the trading environment for agents remains tough,” Peel Hunt analysts said.

However, Rightmove said the UK online property advertising market will continue to grow, despite uncertainties around Britain’s impending exit from the European Union.

Britain’s real-estate market led by London has slowed since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, with consumers and businesses remaining cautious about spending on property.

Rightmove — started in 2000 by estate agencies Countrywide, Connells, Halifax and Royal and Sun Alliance — said underlying operating profit rose 10 percent to 203 million pounds for the year ended Dec. 31.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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