By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com -- Adyen NV (AS:ADYEN) shares fell to near the bottom of the pan-European STOXX 600, paring back slight gains in early trading, after the Dutch payments firm reported lower than expected first-half core income and sales.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization came in at €356.3 million, increasing by 31% over the first six months of the year. Meanwhile, net revenue jumped by 37% to €608.5 million.
Analysts had predicted core profit of €383.5 million on sales of €615.2 million.
Spurring on the results was a surge in transaction volumes, which grew to €345.8 billion, beating estimates. Adyen said the figure was boosted by the return of travel following the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
But operating expenses also rose by 47%, mainly due to Adyen - the processor of payments for big merchants like Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) - accelerating hiring. The company added 395 employees during the period, bringing its total number of full-time workers to 2,575, and promised to keep up the increased hiring pace during the second half of the year.
Analysts at Barclays warned that the pick-up in headcount may hit Adyen's profit margin in the short-term, but said it is necessary to maintain long-term growth.
Shares in Adyen, which first floated on Amsterdam's Euronext exchange in 2018, slumped by more than 11% on Wednesday, but remain far above their IPO price.
The stock's underperformance was driven by a recent rally into the latest earnings, higher buy-side expectations, and Adyen's elevated valuation level, according to Citi analysts. Adyen is currently valued at more than €50 billion.