In the first half of 2019 XTB reported a consolidated net profit of PLN 5.2 million compared to PLN 1.1 million in the second half of 2018. Consolidated revenue was PLN 88.8 million (H2 2018: PLN 90.4 million) and operating expenses reached PLN 83.6 million (H2 2018: PLN 89.7 million). In this period XTB noted a record number of new clients i.e. 16 089, which is an increase of 51.4% compared to second half of 2018 (h/h).
The revenues in the first half of 2019 decreased by 1.8% h/h, i.e. PLN 1.6 million from PLN 90.4 to PLN 88.8 million. Significant factors which determined the level of revenues in this period were: the product intervention of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) coming into force in August 2018, which in case of the retail clients limited maximum permitted level of leverage. This had a direct impact on lower volume of transaction carried out by XTB clients. As a consequence the transaction volume in CFD instruments amounted to 779.7 thousand lots (H1 2018: 1 291.4 thousand lots, H2 2018: 804.0 thousand lots) and profitability per lot reached PLN 114 (H1 2018: PLN 153, H2 2018: PLN 112 ).
XTB has a solid foundation in the form of constantly growing customer base and number of active clients. The intention of the Management Board in 2019 is to further increase the client base. The Group reported a record number of new clients amounting to 16 089 compared to 10 626 in the second half of 2018 (H1 2018: 10 046). In the second quarter of 2019 number of new clients increase by 2 403 q/q, i.e. 35.1% q/q. This is the effect of continuing the optimized sales and marketing strategy and the successive introduction of new products to the offer, such as shares, ETFs, indexes of technology companies FANG + and other sector indexes. The average number of active clients was higher by 3 265 h/h, i.e. 16.0% h/h.
XTB’s aim is to provide a diversified investment offer simultaneously with comfort of managing the differentiated portfolio on one trading platform. The company analyzes other possibilities of expanding the product offer, which could cause the introduction of new products in 2019 and following years.
Looking at revenues in terms of the classes of instruments responsible for their creation, it can be seen that similar as in the first half of 2018, CFDs based on stock indices dominated. Their share in the structure of revenues on financial instruments in the first half of 2019 reached 84.3% against 51.0% year earlier. This is a consequence of the high interest of XTB clients in CFD instruments based on the German DAX stock index (DE30) and the US indices US500, US100, US30. The second most-profitable class of assets were CFD commodities. Their share in the structure of revenues on financial instruments in the first half of 2019 reached 6.9% (H1 2018: 16.4%). The most lucrative instrument among clients was CFD based on quotations of the contract for natural gas and gold. Revenues on CFD instruments based on currency pairs amounted to 6.2% of total revenues against 29.3% a year earlier. Among this class of instruments, where the EURUSD currency pair was the most popular between XTB clients, there were more predictable trends in which the market moved within a limited price range. This led to the emergence of market trends, which can be predicted with a higher probability than in the case of larger directions of movements on the markets, which created favorable conditions for transactions concluded in a narrow range of the market (range trading). In this case, XTB has observed a higher number of profitable transactions for clients.
XTB clients, looking for investment opportunities to earn money, generally trade in financial instruments that are characterized by high market volatility in a given period. This may lead to fluctuations in the revenue structure by the asset class, which should be treated as a natural element of the business model. From the point of view of XTB, it is important that the range of financial instruments in the Group’s offer is as broad as possible and allows clients to use every upcoming market opportunity to earn money.
XTB places great importance on the geographical diversification of revenues. The countries from which the Group derives more than 15% of revenues are Poland and Spain with the share of 40.8% (H1 2018: 32.3%) and 23.9% (H1 2018: 15.0%). The share of other countries in the geographical structure of revenues does not exceed in any case 15%.
XTB puts also strong emphasis on diversification of segment revenues. Therefore the Group develops institutional activities (X Open Hub), under which it provides liquidity and technology to other financial institutions, including brokerage houses. Revenues from this segment are subject to significant fluctuations from quarter to quarter, analogically to the retail segment, which is typical for the business model adopted by the Group.
It should be noted that, similar as a retail segment, product intervention introduced by relevant regulators on local markets of European Union countries could affect the condition of the European institutional partners of XTB and thus the transaction volume in lots as well as the revenues of XTB from these clients. However, the Management Board cannot exclude that there will be increase in volatility of institutional clients in the further.
Operating costs in the first half of 2019 amounted to PLN 83.6 million and were higher by PLN 0,8 million compared to the same period a year earlier. The most significant changes y/y occurred in:
• marketing costs, an increase of PLN 2.0 million due to higher expenditures on marketing online campaigns;
• costs of salaries and employee benefits, an increase of PLN 1.4 million related to new employment and employee severance
• costs of maintaining and lease of buildings, a decrease by PLN 2.4 million and thus an increase in depreciation costs by PLN
1.0 million, mainly due to a change in the approach to the cost of renting office space from 2019, in connection with the entry into force of IFRS 16 Leasing;
• other external services, a decrease by PLN 1.4 million as a result of lower expenditure on other external services (decrease by
PLN 1.4 million y/y).
In the first half of 2019 operating expenses increased by PLN 1.4 million q/q, mainly due to higher by PLN 1.1 million salaries and employee benefits costs and other expenses by PLN 0.5 million.
The Management Board expects in the second half of 2019 operating expenses to be at a level comparable to that observed in the first half of 2019. The final level will depend on the variable remuneration elements paid to employees, the level of marketing expenditures and the impact of ESMA’s product intervention on the level of revenues generated by the Group. The value of variable remuneration components will be influenced by the results of the Group. The level of marketing expenditures will depend on the impact of the results and profitability of the Group and on responsiveness of the clients to the actions taken. The impact of product intervention introduced by relevant regulators on local markets of European Union countries on the Group’s revenues will determine, if necessary, a revision of the cost assumptions for further months of 2019.
The entry into force of product intervention by ESMA creates both opportunities and threats for XTB. On the one hand, there is a temporary drop in trade volumes among European brokers. On the other hand, the Management Board of XTB is convinced of the business’s vitality over a longer time horizon. The natural consequence of ESMA’s decision should be a wave of consolidation on the market that would allow XTB to consolidate its strong position on the European market. Less influential brokers, unable to withstand regulatory pressure and strong competition from a very significant brokers, will naturally disappear from the market. Consequently large brokers should expect the client base to grow.
XTB has a stable market position and dynamically growing client base. The Group plans further development by expanding the client base and product offer, penetrating existing markets and expanding geographically to new markets to build global brand.