Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC
06 July 2006
For immediate release
6 July 2006
Taylor Nelson Sofres plc
Following developments in its US custom business, Taylor Nelson Sofres plc
(TNS), a world leader in market information, today issues the following business
and trading update.
• US custom business restructured under new leadership
• Review of other group operations underway
• Share buy back announced
• Good performance in majority of group in H1 held back by US custom
business; group underlying revenue growth of approximately 3 per cent
• Similar development for full year revenue; decline in operating
margin, before exceptional costs, could be in excess of 100 basis points
Reorganisation of US custom business
The group's US custom business has not recovered as anticipated this year and a
significant restructuring of that business has taken place.
In line with the group strategy he announced in March and in response to the
changing dynamics of the US market, Chief Executive David Lowden has conducted a
thorough review of the group's US custom business, to accelerate a transition to
the higher growth areas of value-added information and insight. The US custom
business has historically been weighted more to the data provision end of the
market, which has been under increasing pressure. It has now been restructured
with the aim of providing greater insight capabilities, in line with client
As part of the business review, a new President of TNS North America, Kimberly
Till, was appointed in May. She is now in the process of strengthening teams to
increase the depth of sector knowledge and areas of research expertise, as well
as putting in place a renewed focus on customer service, to exploit fully the
group's capabilities. The review has also highlighted significant
opportunities, now being implemented, to streamline the organisational structure
while at the same time improving operational processes.
The reorganisation is expected to deliver annualised gross savings estimated at
£10 million that will show through progressively during 2007, with an associated
one-off cost of around £8 million. Approximately £4 to £5 million of these
savings will be reinvested in a number of key areas to enhance the business'
ability to deliver value-added services to clients.
Implementation of successful strategy accelerated
The group has a strong position in its other markets, where it provides a higher
proportion of added-value services. A key to accelerating growth in these areas
is to increase innovation and new services. Improvements in operational
efficiency will allow this increased investment, enabling the group to build on
its strong competitive position.
TNS is, therefore, currently reviewing its operating structure in other parts of
This review, which will be completed by early September, will target increased
efficiency in data collection, analysis and other support services. It will
also examine the range of services the group provides, to ensure that it focuses
only on those that can deliver the required rates of return.
The group has set a target of achieving annualised savings of around £10 million
from this review, which are expected to be delivered progressively through 2007.
These savings will be used to enhance competitiveness to drive further revenue
growth; more information on this will be given at the group's interim results.
At this stage, it is estimated that the one-off restructuring costs associated
with this review could be around £10 million, most of which will be incurred in
Efficient balance sheet
TNS remains strongly cash generative. The group is committed to continued
investment in the growth of the business over the medium term, both through
organic development and acquisitions. Its strategy is to retain the financial
flexibility this requires, while at the same time maintaining an efficient
capital structure. Given its strong cash flows and its immediate cash
requirements for investment, the board has decided to initiate an open market
programme, after the interim results in September 2006, to buy back shares up to
a value of £100 million, over a period of approximately 18 months.
Underlying revenue growth for the group in the first six months is expected to
be around 3 per cent.
Europe: Europe as a whole is expected to show steady growth for the first six
months of the year.
Americas: The Americas region is expected to show a revenue decline for the
first half. This is due to a significant fall in revenue in US custom.
Following the anticipated loss of business with a Technology client, it had been
expected that this would be mitigated by a progressive recovery in the Consumer
and Business Services sectors. June revenue and order book figures were
disappointing and indicate that this recovery is not taking place as
anticipated. Action has been taken to replace management, restructure the
organisation and refocus the strategy, as described above. Both the US Media
Intelligence business and the group's activities in Latin America grew well in
the first half.
Asia Pacific: The region continues to perform very strongly and is expected to
show excellent growth for both the half and full year.
Sectors: Media, Business Services, Healthcare and Polling & Social (included
in Other) all performed well in the first half. The syndicated Worldpanel
service continues to grow steadily but, with difficult custom markets in Europe
and the US, Consumer is expected to be relatively flat. Technology benefited
from some new business wins but the previously anticipated loss of business from
a large client led to a decline in this sector.
Operating margin improved in both Europe and Asia Pacific. The Americas,
however, has been impacted by a progressive increase in pricing pressure in the
US custom business. This is expected to result in a reduction in group
operating margin, before exceptional costs, for the first half.
Outlook for full year 2006
The pattern of revenue development seen in the first half is expected to
continue into the second half, with the majority of the group performing at
least in line with, or ahead of, expectations. Europe is expected to continue
to deliver steady underlying revenue growth for the rest of the year and Asia
Pacific should maintain its strong performance.
The group indicated at the time of the preliminary results in March that it
could not be certain when the US custom business would return to growth.
Although visibility is limited, due to the short-term nature of the business,
forward-looking order book information now indicates that this is unlikely to
happen in 2006. As outlined above, action has been taken already to reduce
operating costs significantly but the benefits of this action will not be fully
felt until 2007. It is possible, therefore, that group operating margin, before
exceptional costs, could decline by in excess of 100 basis points for the year
as a whole.
David Lowden, Chief Executive, said:
"The performance of our US custom business in the first half has been
unacceptable and this has held back an otherwise good performance, with the rest
of the group achieving underlying revenue growth of almost 6 per cent in the
"My first priority on becoming Chief Executive was to initiate a complete review
of the US custom business and one of the first actions was to appoint a new CEO.
Under this new leadership in the US, we are taking decisive actions that will
lead to an improved performance in 2007. The changes being implemented are in
line with the group's strategy to provide the additional analysis and insights
our clients demand, supported by a streamlined organisational structure and will
deliver growth and improved margin from 2007 onwards.
"Other parts of the group continue to perform well. We have the opportunity to
build on our strengths and assets by developing innovative services for our
clients to accelerate growth and to improve our operating efficiency. Our
current review is looking at all these areas, with the aim of achieving a more
aggressive implementation of our strategy.
"I am confident that these actions will return the group to satisfactory levels
of growth for 2007 and drive further improvement in the longer term."
A conference call will be held at 14:00 today, details as follows:
UK Local Call 0845 146 2021
International Dial In +44 (0) 1452 560 210
Conference ID 2688563
For more information, please contact:
David Lowden, Chief Executive +44 (0)20 8967 4009
Andy Boland, Finance Director +44 (0)20 8967 1472
Janis Parks, Head of Investor Relations +44 (0)20 8967 1584
Margaret George, Citigate Dewe Rogerson +44 (0)20 7638 9571
Email to: Janis.Parks@tns-global.com
TNS is a market information group:
• The world's largest provider of custom research and analysis
• A leader in political and social polling
• A major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and TV and
radio audience measurement services.
TNS operates across a global network in over 70 countries, allowing us to
provide internationally consistent, up-to-the-minute and high quality
information and analysis.
The group's employees deliver innovative thinking and excellent service to local
and multi-national clients worldwide. In the custom business, they combine
in-depth sector knowledge with expertise in the areas of new product
development, positioning and segmentation research, brand and advertising
research and stakeholder management.
TNS' strategic goal is to be recognised as the global leader in delivering value
added information and insights that help our clients to make more effective
TNS is the sixth sense of business.
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange