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Friday 08 July, 2011

Trading Statement

RNS Number : 0120K Group PLC
08 July 2011


8th July 2011


Post Close Trading Statement Group PLC ("" or "the Group"), the UK's leading price comparison site, issues the following trading update relating to the six month period ending 30th June 2011.



Trading in the second quarter has been strong and consistent with the trends seen in the first quarter. The Board expects adjusted half year revenues to be in the region of £88.3m and adjusted EBITDA to be approximately £22.8m, which are approximately 23% and 26% ahead of the same period last year respectively.(1)


Consistent with its strategy of driving higher-margin, direct-to-site revenues, the Group has continued to increase its investment in offline marketing, including the sponsorship of Britain's Got Talent in the second quarter to consolidate its position as a mainstream brand. Consequently, and as expected, offline marketing expenditure in the first half of the year was approximately 50% ahead of the same period last year. The Group will continue to invest in its brand in the second half and launched a new campaign in the first week of July. Offline marketing expenditure is therefore expected to continue to be ahead of the comparator period in the second half of the year. However, consistent with previous years, the absolute quantum of spend is likely to be lower than first half of the year reflecting lower expenditure levels in the fourth quarter.


The Group will recognise a one off credit of approximately £3.3m in the first half of the year, following reaching agreement in principle with HMRC relating to the VAT treatment of certain of the Group's supplies.  The Group anticipates that there will be an ongoing benefit of approximately £0.5m per annum. (1)

The Group's financial position remains strong. As at 30 June 2011 the Group had cash balances of £32.1m after the payment of a dividend of £12.9m in May 2011 and was debt free.


The results for the half year will be announced on 2 August 2011.


For more information, please contact: Group PLC 

Paul Doughty, Chief Financial Officer, 01244 665700

Tulchan Communications 

Susanna Voyle, 0207 353 4200


·      This trading 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.


(1)  During the course of the second quarter the Group received written notification that it had been successful in challenging the VAT treatment of the supply of certain of its leads services. Following a ruling received from HMRC in March 2008 the Group had treated the supply of its leads services as a standard rated supply for VAT purposes rather than as an exempt supply that the Group believed to be correct. Consequently the Group will record additional revenues of £3.1m in the first half of the year, together with a credit of £0.2m to administrative costs.  The adjusted first half results reflect the estimated impact of the change in VAT treatment on the first half results, the largest element being an additional £0.3m of revenues. The Group anticipates receiving the cash benefit of the change in the VAT treatment during the second half of the year.



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