Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC
14 January 2002
Taylor Nelson Sofres plc
Pre-close trading update
Global network and sector spread expected to deliver successful outcome for
Taylor Nelson Sofres, a world leader in market information, issues the
following trading update ahead of its preliminary results announcement on 18
The group expects its underlying improvement in 2001 to be slightly ahead of
market growth, which is generally estimated to be 5 per cent. Year on year
improvement was achieved in all sectors, with excellent trading in Healthcare
compensating for a downturn in the second half in IT/Telecoms. 2001 was
another year in which the group played an active part in industry
consolidation, making a number of acquisitions, of which three were announced
in the second half. The successful integration of recent acquisitions has
contributed to a satisfactory outcome for the year as a whole.
The group has continued to work on improving its operating margin. Its press
and broadcast monitoring activities, however, have been impacted over the past
few months by the dominance of a single news story. In addition, Omnibus and
focus group services saw reduced demand in the aftermath of September's
terrorist atrocities. While these are both short-term factors, they affected
some of the group's higher margin activities, holding back overall margin
improvement to below the previously anticipated 0.5 per cent level.
Turnover increased in all of the group's regions, with Europe reporting an
underlying improvement ahead of the market. Although the UK and France were
impacted by the continued under-performance of the group's small non-market
information activities, the Rest of Europe achieved double-digit growth.
The Americas region as a whole saw turnover growth. TNS Intersearch, in
particular, had a good year; operating in a market that is thought to have
shown little or no increase for the year as a whole, its underlying turnover
was up by over 4 per cent. New York-based CMR was affected by weakness in the
US media sector generally but the company continued to deliver turnover
improvement. The economic uncertainty in Argentina has resulted in a decline
in sales and this, together with the recent devaluation, has led to a review
of the value of the group's investment. It is anticipated, therefore, that an
additional charge of approximately £1.5 million will be made to the profit and
loss account in respect of goodwill.
Asia Pacific reported particularly strong performances in Korea and Taiwan.
The group is entering into a new strategic alliance in Japan, which is
expected to lead to increased activity in that market. 2001 was affected by
the termination of the group's existing partnership in Japan.
Interest cover and investment
Interest cover increased in the second half of the year, due both to improved
operating cash flow and falling interest rates. The group remains committed to
an ongoing policy of investing in new services and products. In 2001,
approximately 3 per cent of turnover was invested into new developments and
the group plans to maintain a similar level of investment in 2002. In this way
it expects to continue to achieve out performance of a growing market.
Summary and outlook
Chief Executive, Mike Kirkham said: 'In 2001, the group performed well against
a difficult economic backdrop, proving the resilience we gain from our global
network and wide sector spread of activities. It was a year in which our
expertise was recognised by UK Marketing magazine, which chose Taylor Nelson
Sofres as Market Research Agency of the Year.
'As the fundamental drivers for industry growth remain robust, our market
still continues to increase and we expect to achieve anticipated levels of
turnover improvement in 2002.'
For further information, please contact:
David Lowden, Finance Director, +44 (0)20 8967 4009
Janis Parks, Investor Relations Manager, +44 (0)20 8967 1584
Margaret George, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, +44 (0)20 7638 9571
Email to: Janis.Parks@tnsofres.com
Note to editors
Through its international network in more than 50 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. Further information on Taylor Nelson Sofres is
available from the corporate website: www.tnsofres.com