Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC
13 June 2000
Taylor Nelson Sofres plc
A world leader in market information
Annual General Meeting
At today's annual general meeting Taylor Nelson Sofres Executive Chairman,
Tony Cowling, told shareholders:
'We continue to implement our successful strategy. Yesterday, we announced
that we had completed our acquisition of CMR in the US, following receipt of
Federal Trade Commission approval. This excellent advertising tracking
business considerably strengthens our position in media monitoring, in line
with our move to focus on acquisitions in key growth sectors.
'Market measurement and tracking represent an increasingly important part of
our operations, providing ongoing, good margin business. We will continue to
build on these activities and our syndicated business. In 2000, we are
setting up consumer panels in Hong Kong and Malaysia and next year in The
Philippines. With the return to growth in the Asian market, our global
clients are looking for the same quality of information on consumer purchasing
habits that we supply to them in other parts of the world.
'Additionally this year, we have reinforced our powerful international network
by acquiring Piar and Siar, a major market information company in Turkey.
Through our newly formed joint venture in Latin America, we can offer our
multi-national clients information and analysis on their consumer goods sales
in three of the largest markets in that region.
'As we increase our investment into internet-related activity, one of the
results is that we are seeing continued growth in the number of contracts
where we measure and evaluate website performance. Companies such as Nestle,
Planet Medica, QXL and StepStone have all used our innovative web site
evaluation programme, WebEval. Our alliance with NetValue continues to
expand. We have recently entered an agreement to set up an internet audience
measurement panel in Spain, alongside those we currently provide in the US,
France, Germany and the UK.
'We have invested substantially in Europe over the past few years and our
operations in Germany, Scandinavia and Central and Southern Europe are
performing extremely well, with growth rates ahead of those of the local
markets. Our results will, however, be impacted by the weakness of the Euro.
In France, we have successfully rebased our customised business by focusing on
contracts with stronger profit potential and, as underlying growth returns to
market levels in this country, we are achieving the higher margins we
anticipated. In the UK, we are currently refocusing the customised business
on key sectors and increasing investment into our consumer panel businesses.
'Our US activities, including CMR for half of this year, will represent a more
significant proportion of our turnover. Already this year we have won a
number of $1 million plus contracts. In the US, these include a substantial
market sizing project for UPS and a customer satisfaction study for utility
company Entenergy, both using our successful Miriad product, as well as a
repeat customer satisfaction project for Chase Bank, now in its seventh year.
'The upturn in Asia Pacific continues, with growth rates well above those of
the previous two years, reflecting the success of our newly established
services in the region.
'As we continue to expand our business both organically and through
acquisition, we remain on track for another year of satisfactory growth.'
For further information, please contact:
David Lowden, Finance Director +44 (0) 20 8967 0007
Janis Parks, Investor Relations Manager +44 (0) 20 8967 1584
Margaret George, Citigate Dewe Rogerson +44 (0) 20 7638 9571
Email enquiries to Janis.Parks@tnsofres.com
Note to editors
Taylor Nelson Sofres
Through its international network of more than 150 offices in over 40
countries, Taylor Nelson Sofres provides market information services in over
80 countries to national and multi-national organisations. It is ranked as
the fourth largest market information group in the world.