Information  X 
Enter a valid email address (MONY)

  Print      Mail a friend

Tuesday 22 April, 2008

Interim Management Statement Group PLC
22 April 2008 Group PLC Interim Management Statement

22 April 2008

In advance of its AGM to be held at 10.30am today, Group
PLC ('' or the 'Group'), the UK's leading price comparison
site, announces its Interim Management Statement relating to the period from 1
January 2008 to the latest practicable date prior to the publication of this
statement, being 21 April 2008. The financial and operational data set out below
is in respect of the Group's first quarter (1 January 2008 to 31 March 2008)
unless otherwise stated.

The financial results for the Group for the first quarter, and the performance
of the Group in the year to date, are in line with the Board's expectations. We
have made a solid start to the year with Group revenues having grown by more
than 30% over the same period last year.

The Money vertical has enjoyed revenue growth in excess of 10% in the first
quarter compared to the same period last year. Visitor growth has also continued
to remain strong with growth rates in excess of 15% over the same period last
year. Trading within loans and mortgages has been challenging. However, revenues
in these channels have been broadly flat in the first quarter compared to the
same period last year in what for the financial services industry as a whole has
been a declining market. The credit cards and savings channels have continued to
see significant growth driven both by improved commercial terms with providers
together with a significant increase in visitors. With mortgage approvals
reported to be 40% down, the performance of our business shows the benefit of a
difficult market to the price comparison channels.

The Insurance vertical has maintained the momentum seen in the second half of
2007. Revenue has grown in excess of 50% over the first quarter last year with
each of the major channels performing well. Visitors have grown in excess of 30%
(1). We have also seen improvements in Revenue per Visitor from improved
commercial terms with providers and continued improvements in conversion rates
on provider sites.

The Travel vertical has also delivered strong results with revenues and visitors
in excess of 50% ahead of the same period last year.

Revenues in Home Services are more than 100% ahead of the first quarter last
year primarily from increased revenues in the Utilities channel. Visitors to the
Home Services vertical have grown by more than 30%.

The intermediary business has performed in line with expectations with revenues
marginally down on the same period last year, impacted in part by the turbulent
credit markets.

As indicated at the time of the preliminary results we have seen a stepped
increase in our cost base. Costs have increased, in line with plan, as a result
of the introduction of a dual data centre to provide business continuity and
investment using temporary resource to further increase the scalability and
resilience of the Group's technology offering together with costs of the German
operation. The Board does not anticipate a further step up in the cost base
during the remainder of 2008.

The underlying UK business continues to generate EBITDA margins in excess of
30%, which is broadly in line with the second half of last year.

As the Group enters the second quarter, growth rates continue to remain strong
and the current financial year continues to progress in line with the Board's
expectations. The Group is well positioned in each of its chosen markets and
remains confident in its growth prospects.

Simon Nixon, Chief Executive Officer said 'We have made a solid start to the
year with over 30% revenue growth year on year. This highlights the resilience
of our business model, the strength of our market position and the benefits of
our diversification into a number or verticals.'

Contact details Group PLC

Paul Doughty                Chief Financial Officer      020 7353 4200
Alexander Cowen-Wright      Public Relations Manager     07802 455893

Tulchan Communications

David Trenchard                                          020 7353 4200

Celia Gordon Shute                                       020 7353 4200

(1) As noted in the prospectus in connection with its listing, the Group's
visitor numbers during the period between June 2006 and May 2007 were
understated due to certain visitors not being assigned a unique global user ID.
The issue was resolved in May 2007 and has not impacted visitor numbers in the
Insurance vertical after May 2007. The Group has been unable to quantify the
exact extent of the understatement.


   •This announcement includes statements that are forward looking in nature.
    Forward looking statements involve known and unknown risks, assumptions,
    uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results,
    performance or achievements of the Group to be materially different from any
    future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such
    forward looking statements. Except as required by the Listing Rules and
    applicable law, the Group undertakes no obligation to update or change any
    forward looking statements to reflect events occurring after the date such
    statements are published.
   •The information in this release is based on management information.

                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange