Today’s most noteworthy half-yearly releases included a mortgage broker, a dentist and couple of retailers that actually aren’t struggling.

Mortgage broker Mortgage Choice (ASX:MOC) says it’s making hay while the sun shines but some of its figures retreated.

It reported a net profit after tax on an IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) basis of $4m. This was down 46 per cent from the second half of the last financial year. Its cash balance also fell by 20 per cent from $6.9m to $5.5m.

On the flip side, however, home loan settlements reached $5bn, a 22 per cent jump from the prior corresponding period.

In February last year the industry was rocked by the recommendations of the Financial Services Royal Commission. Additionally, the slump in the housing market did not help.

A year on and the housing market appears to be recovering. Mortgage brokers escaped the most threatening proposed changes to its business model — having users pay rather than the banks.

“The interim results reflect a turnaround in the nation’s housing market and are in line with expectations,” CEO Susan Mitchell said.

“I believe we are well-positioned to take advantage of this new environment as we focus on building a long-term, sustainable business.”

Starting on July 1 this year, mortgage brokers will face penalties if they don’t act in the best interests of their clients.

Mortgage Choice welcomed the changes, saying it was positive for consumers and aligned to its customer-centric business model.

It also said it would invest in its IT systems and brand and try to attract more brokers to its franchise network.

Shares retreated by 8 per cent this morning but are still well up from the period of shareholder panic last year.


READ MORE: 1 year on from the Financial Services Royal Commission; is it business as usual?


In other ASX half yearlies today:

Dentist franchisor Pacific Smiles Group (ASX:PSQ) made a $5m profit after tax, up 15 per cent from the prior corresponding period. It booked $105.4m in patient fees — also a 15 per cent gain. It anticipates underlying earnings growth for the full financial year to be at least 11 per cent higher than the year before.

Australia’s retail sector was rocked yesterday by the latest chain collapse. Fifty-year old homewares retailer ISHKA was placed in administration. But City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) isn’t heading for bankruptcy, it has become nearly a 25-bagger jumping from 13c in December 2017 to $3.36 this morning. It raked in $104.8m in revenues and a profit before tax of $16m.

One factor which could explain its success is that online penetration is now more than half its sales at 53 per cent. CEO Paul Ryan told shareholders he was excited by the business’ performance but said there was still more work to do including migrating store customers online.

Another retailer doing well is large cap Accent Group (ASX:AX1), which owns footwear brands including Vans, Athlete’s Foot & Timberland. It made a net profit after tax of $35.3 million. Accent also credited its shift to online stores as helping the company, with digital savings growing 33 per cent during the period.

While January 2020 was not included in the results, it said this was a pleasing month due to back to school sales. Its growth in 26 months is not as big as City Chic’s but still impressive — up 163 per cent.