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Tuesday 16 November, 2010

Interim Management Statement

RNS Number : 2188W Group PLC
16 November 2010 - Interim Management Statement Group PLC


16 November 2010 Group PLC ("" or the "Group"), the UK's leading price comparison site, issues the following Interim Management Statement relating to the period from 1 July 2010 to the latest practicable date prior to the publication of this statement, being 15 November 2010. The financial and operational data set out below is in respect of the Group's third quarter (1 July 2010 to 30 September 2010) unless otherwise stated.


The Group's financial performance in the third quarter and in the year to date is in line with the Board's expectations.  Internet revenues were 11% ahead of the same period last year as the Group continued to benefit from new site launches made in its Money and Insurance verticals earlier in the year. EBITDA was 16% ahead of the same period.  Visitors were managed to broadly flat compared to the same period last year with increased visitors in the Insurance and Home Services verticals offsetting reductions in Money and Travel explained in more detail below.




Revenues in the Money vertical were 19% ahead of Q3 2009 on visitor volumes that were approximately 10% lower.


Credit card revenues, the largest in the Money vertical, were particularly strong. This was driven by improving product availability from providers and the launch of the new credit card site during the earlier part of the year which helped improve conversion. 


Visitors to the Money vertical in particular were weaker than the same period last year. This in part reflects deliberate actions taken by the Group to step away from a number of portal partner relationships which were unprofitable together with the continued low levels of consumer confidence particularly impacting the Group's credit related channels.




Insurance revenues were 13% ahead of Q3 2009 and visitor volumes 8% ahead of the same period last year. 


The Group saw growth across all of its major Insurance lines including motor, home, travel and life insurance. Motor insurance in particular continues to perform very strongly benefiting from good visitor growth from the 'Haggle Hero' TV advertising campaign and the launch of the new motor site earlier in the year which has helped improve conversion.




Revenues in the Travel vertical were 6% down on Q3 2009 on visitor volumes that fell by a similar proportion. As indicated at the announcement of the half year results trading has improved relative to the first half of the year. Management continue to believe that there is significant structural growth potential in Travel and work has begun on an improved travel website which will be ready for launch in the first quarter of 2011.


Home Services


Home Services revenues were 9% down on Q3 2009 and visitor volumes increased by 24%.  Utility switching volumes, which account for the greatest part of Home Services revenue, were weaker than the corresponding period last year. Visitors however continued to grow strongly as a result of the shopping and vouchers channels which generate high volumes of traffic but relatively low revenues.


Financial position


Cash conversion continues to remain strong. At 31 October 2010 the Group had net cash of £26.7m, reflecting the payment since the half year of the interim dividend of £6.6m, corporation tax payments on account of £5.2m and £4.6m relating to the acquisition of Financial Services Net referred to below.


Acquisition of Financial Services Net Limited


On 14 October the Group completed the acquisition from the Panesar family and others of Financial Services Net Limited ("FSN") for an initial consideration of £4.6m, rising to a total consideration of up to £9m payable over 3 years  depending on the achievement of certain financial targets. Related expenses of approximately £0.6m will be expensed in the year.


FSN owns and operates a number of website domains which provides a platform for the Group to broaden its brand offering to a wider range of customer segments in the Money and Insurance verticals.


All consideration payments have been or will be settled in cash out of existing resources.




Trading in the first few weeks of the fourth quarter has been strong with revenues remaining more than 10% ahead of the same period last year. The outcome for the year remains in line with the Board's expectations


Peter Plumb, Chief Executive of, said:


" has continued to make good progress in the second half of the year. Revenues in the third quarter were up more than 10%, with the Insurance and Money verticals benefiting from the site developments made earlier in the year coupled with our 'Haggle Hero' campaign which continues to perform strongly. Our Travel business is on track for a relaunch in Q1 2011.


The recent acquisition of FSN will enable us to further expand our brand offering to new customer segments in the Money and Insurance business.


Overall, we remain pleased with the performance in the year to date which is in line with the Board's expectations. is well placed to capitalise on its strengths as we begin to see signs of growth returning to our markets."


- ends -


For further information, please contact: Group PLC                      020-7353-4200


Paul Doughty, Chief Financial Officer


Tulchan Communications                                        020-7353-4200


Susanna Voyle

Tom Murray     


·      This interim management statement may contain forward-looking statements based on current expectations of, and assumptions and forecasts made by management. 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, revise or adjust any forward looking statements to reflect events or developments 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