MARKET REPORT: Money transfer group Wise shares hit by revenue warning

Money transfer group Wise saw its shares slide after it warned price cuts would dent its second-half revenues.

In a trading update, the company said customers used its services to transfer £18billion in the second quarter, a 36 per cent increase year-on-year and 10 per cent higher than the previous quarter.

Customer numbers, meanwhile, rose 22 per cent to 3.7m, while the number of businesses using the firm’s services expanded by 44 per cent. 

Money transfer group Wise saw said customers used its services to transfer £18bn in the second quarter, a 36 per cent increase year-on-year

The company also said it had speeded up its service, with 40 per cent of all transfers delivered instantly, up from 38 per cent in the first quarter.

However, Wise said it had dropped prices ‘faster than hoped’, meaning the average transfer fee for customers had fallen to 0.62 per cent over the quarter from 0.7 per cent a year ago.

As a result, the company said it expected revenues in its second half to be ‘slightly lower’ compared to the first, although it continued to target revenue growth in the ‘low to mid’ 20 per cent range for the whole year.

‘We’re moving more of the world’s volume and operating at a lower cost, the benefit from which we’ve passed on to our customers, whilst maintaining a sound sustainable business model that’s investing even more for the long term’, said Wise co-founder and chief executive Kristo Kaarmann.

Stock Watch – Tremor International 

Tremor International’s shares shifted higher after it snapped up German advertising tech firm Spearad in a deal worth £10.7million.

The AIM-listed firm said Spearad’s technology, which uses artificial intelligence to help companies make sure their ads reach their target audiences, ‘further strengthens’ its leadership position in the market.

Tremor – founded in Israel in 2007 – added that it will fund the acquisition with £8million in cash and 370,000 shares which will be issued over a three- year period.

The shares jumped 4.4 per cent, or 30p, to 708p.   

However, investors were less than pleased, with the shares sinking 6.9 per cent, or 63.8p, to 858.2p.

Wise is attempting to move on from a massive tax blunder by Kaarmann that was revealed last month. 

The Estonian billionaire, who set up the company in 2010, was fined £365,651 by HMRC for deliberately defaulting on his taxes in the 2017-18 tax year.

The incident, which could see Kaarmann sanctioned by the Financial Conduct Authority, has also tarnished Wise’s reputation, which was seen as one of Britain’s tech success stories after its listing on the London market in July.

The FTSE 100 was barely moved, up 0.19 per cent, or 13.7 points, at 7217.53 while the FTSE 250 rose 0.37 per cent, or 85.35 points, to 23054.09.

The market seemed unsure of which way to turn, with many traders awaiting more US earnings as well as any economic data that could point towards an imminent rise in interest rates.

Meanwhile, online gambling group 888 saw red after halting its operations in the Netherlands following what it said was an ‘unforeseen’ change to Dutch gambling laws. 

The country changed its rules at the start of October which meant gambling firms need to apply for a licence to offer online services to customers.

While 888 said it intends to apply for a licence in the coming months and expects to resume operations in the Netherlands in the second half of next year, it warned the temporary stoppage will knock £7.2million off its earnings. 

The news was included in a trading update that showed signs the company’s revenue growth was slowing down.

For the three months to October, the company reported revenues of £166.5million, up 7 per cent year-on-year, although this was less than the 10 per cent rise recorded in the prior three-month period.

The shares were down 2.1 per cent, or 8.6p, at 407.4p.

RHI Magnesita, a maker of heat-resistant materials for the steel industry, climbed 7.7 per cent, or 226p, to 3180p after inking a deal to acquire an 85 per cent stake in Turkish rival Sormas for £33million in cash. 

The firm added that it has increased prices to offset rising costs in shipping and energy, which it said will support its profitability in the fourth quarter of this year.

Education outfit Pearson was one of the FTSE 100’s biggest risers (up 2.5 per cent, or 15.6p, to 630.8p) after receiving an upgrade from analysts at Credit Suisse.

The broker upped its rating to ‘neutral’ from ‘underperform’ but cut its target price to 680p from 750p based on lower profit estimates in the longer term.