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Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Monday 11 September, 2000

Taylor Nelson Sofres

2000 Interim Results

Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC
11 September 2000

                          Taylor Nelson Sofres plc
                    A world leader in market information
           Successful strategy drives consistent profitable growth

Highlights from the interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2000

*  Turnover increases by 22.5% to £215.1m

*  Profit before tax* up by 22.8% to £15.6m

*  Earnings per share* up 22.2% to 2.8p

*  Good underlying revenue growth in all regions and sectors

*  Margin improvement reflects continued cost efficiencies
   and changing business mix

* before goodwill amortisation

Executive Chairman, Tony Cowling, said:

'The first half of the year represented solid progress across all regions and
sectors.  These results underline the success of our strategy and the
benefits we are deriving from developing our specialist sectors into
worldwide businesses, through our global network.  We continue to build our
continuous and syndicated services, while focusing our additional development
spend on internet solutions.

'Our markets are maintaining similar growth rates to last year and progress
so far in the second half indicates that we are on track to achieve
anticipated levels of performance.

For further information, please contact:

On 11 September, all enquiries to +44 (0)20 7638 9571


Tony Cowling, Executive Chairman          +44 (0) 1372 803403
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:
[email protected]

Note to editors

Through its international network in over 40 countries, Taylor
Nelson Sofres provides market information services in more
than 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


Taylor Nelson Sofres, a world leader in market information,
today announces its interim results for the six months ended
30 June 2000.  Profit before tax and goodwill amortisation has
grown by 22.8 per cent to £15.6 million (1999 £12.8 million),
on turnover of £215.1 million, a 22.5 per cent increase on the previous year
(1999 £175.7 million).  After goodwill amortisation of £1.9 million (1999 £0.2
million), profit before tax rose by 9.2 per cent to £13.7 million (1999 £12.6
million).  Earnings per share before goodwill amortisation were 2.8p (1999
2.3p), an improvement of 22.2 per cent and the board has declared an interim
dividend of 0.7p per share (1999 0.6p).

Operating profit before goodwill amortisation was up 25.6 per
cent to £17.1 million (1999 £13.7 million).  Operating margin improved
further, from 7.8 per cent to 8.0 per cent, reflecting efficiency gains in
established and newly acquired businesses and the continuing
focus on syndicated services.

Net debt at 30 June 2000 increased to £142.8 million from
£63.6 million at 31 December 1999, as the group spent £75.7
million on acquisitions to reinforce its global network and
strengthen its specialist sector expertise.  Operating cash
flow in the period was £10.5 million (1999 £13.1 million).

The increased borrowings, together with higher interest rates,
led to a net interest charge of £2.1 million (1999 £1.2
million).  These factors will have an increasing impact in the
second half and going forward.  Interest cover was 7.2 times
(1999 11.2 times).

The group's effective tax rate before goodwill amortisation
for the period was 31.5 per cent (1999 32.2 per cent).  The
group is evaluating the impact of the changes to legislation
regarding taxation of international earnings, announced in
March, in order to lessen the impact they will have on its
stated aim to reduce the overall tax rate to the UK headline

Commenting on the six months' results and the future, Executive Chairman Tony
Cowling said:

'The first six months of 2000 repeated the pattern of
consistent profitable growth that we have achieved since the
merger with Sofres at the end of 1997 and we continue to
benefit from the sound operational strategy we have in action
across the group.  Our underlying growth rate of 9.2 per cent
is in line with estimated overall market development.  We have
reported a solid performance across all regions, with Asia
Pacific coming through particularly strongly.  We also
benefited in the first half from certain one-off elements,
such as television meter sales into Canada and contracts
completing earlier than expected, which delivered results
slightly ahead of expectations.

'Over the past two and a half years, we have made 22
acquisitions.  As the businesses are integrated into the
group, we realise the anticipated operational improvements.
This, together with our ongoing focus on improving margins in
existing businesses and building syndicated services, has
contributed towards the margin progress in the period.
 This progress has enabled us to increase the level of
investment in our interactive activities, which should
continue to accelerate in the second half, taking our
development spend to 3 per cent of revenue for the full year.

A winning strategy in action

'We have one of the foremost global networks in our industry
and, so far this year, it has been further strengthened by
acquisitions in Turkey, Argentina and Israel.  While we
continue to look at expansion from a regional perspective, our
main emphasis is now moving towards the reinforcement of our
specialist sector expertise.  Our purchase of US company CMR,
completed in June, is a prime example.  This excellent
company, the largest provider of advertising tracking in the
US, considerably strengthens our position in the growing media
monitoring sector, where we have already established a
significant European presence.  In the short time that CMR has
been part of the group, we are pleased with its performance
and potential.  In the near term we will raise the level of
investment in the business, to realise more effectively the
synergies and cross-selling opportunities we identified prior
to acquisition.

'We remain focused on enhancing our continuous and syndicated
services by establishing new panels, extending the scope of
existing ones and converting more of our custom business to tracking services
and branded solutions.  Miriad (tm), our highly successful new branded
research solution, is playing a significant part in this change of pattern for
our custom activities.

'TNS Interactive is developing services to meet the needs of
all phases of e-business projects, be they for or more
established clients.  At the same time, specialist teams have
been established in 17 countries and a programme of extensive
training for our new internet products and tools is being
undertaken.  Our alliance with NetValue, which started in June
1999, is broadening, with panels being established in five new
countries.  In addition, we are integrating NetValue data with
that of AdNetTrack, to provide sophisticated evaluation of
internet ad campaigns.  The internet increasingly gives us the
ability to extract the maximum value from our information
across the group, as we offer clients greater opportunities to
access and manipulate that data through the internet.

Performance on track

'The first half of the year represented solid progress across
all regions and sectors.  These results underline the success
of our strategy and the benefits we are deriving from developing our
specialist sectors into worldwide businesses, through our global network.  We
continue to build our continuous and syndicated services, while focusing our
additional development spend on internet solutions.

'Our markets are maintaining similar growth rates to last year
and progress so far in the second half indicates that we are
on track to achieve anticipated levels of performance.'


Turnover grew by 22.5 per cent to £215.1 million, with
underlying growth (excluding the effect of currency and
acquisitions) of 9.2 per cent.  Currency had a negative impact
of 4.5 per cent and acquisitions added 17.7 per cent of growth to
the group.

Revenue growth in all regions

                      Half year to 30 June           Increase
                        2000            1999      Reported    Underlying
                          £m              £m             %             %
                     -------------------------   ------------------------
       UK               61.6            53.3          15.5           5.4
       France           47.6            46.7           1.8           9.6
       Rest of Europe   56.8            41.1          38.4           9.8
                     ------------  -----------
Europe                 166.0           141.1          17.6           8.1
Americas                32.5            22.6          43.8           6.1
Asia Pacific            16.6            12.0          39.0          29.9
                     ------------  -----------
Total                  215.1           175.7          22.5           9.2  

Underlying growth of 5.4 per cent in the UK is estimated to be
in line with or slightly ahead of the market as a whole which,
following a particularly slow first quarter, is expected to
pick up as the year progresses.  The Media and IT/Telecoms
sectors performed particularly well.  Consumer panels
continued to be successful, as the Superpanel extension to
15,000 households received a positive response from clients.
Reported revenues from France were materially impacted by the
weakness of the Euro.  On an underlying basis, France saw good
growth at 9.6 per cent.  This reflects the successful
refocusing of customised operations on higher margin activity,
the continued strong performance from media monitoring
operations and the growth of our internet related business.
In Rest of Europe, performance was particularly good in Spain,
Ireland and Italy.  NIPO, the Netherlands market leader,
acquired in August 1999, reported underlying growth of 10.1
per cent.

In the US, Intersearch's underlying growth rate was broadly in
line with the market, as the company won a number of
significant new market sizing, brand tracking and customer
satisfaction contracts in Media, Business services and IT.
QCR and MDI, acquired in June 1999, have been successfully
integrated into the group.  The revenue performance of
INDETEC, acquired in October 1999, was affected as it reduced
its less profitable activities, to allow the company to
concentrate on its syndicated, tracking services.

Asia Pacific
The strong growth seen in the second half of 1999 accelerated
into the first six months of this year, as the Asia Pacific
market continues to rebound.  The region is seeing significant
growth in its custom business and revenues are flowing through
from our newly established consumer panels.

Good performance from specialist sectors

All specialist sectors reported good growth in the first
half of 2000, with Media and IT/Telecoms performing
particularly well.

                   Half year to 30 June              Increase
                      2000          1999        Reported    Underlying
                        £m            £m               %             %
                   -------------------------   ------------------------
Consumer              75.3          66.7            12.9           8.4
Media                 43.5          32.7            33.0          15.2
Business Services     32.8          24.6*           33.3           8.6
IT/Telecoms           22.9          14.4            59.0          22.8
Healthcare            15.6          14.5             8.0           6.2
Other activities      25.0          22.8*            9.7           2.9
                   --------       --------
Total                215.1         175.7            22.5           9.2

* restated to reflect transfer of transportation services from Other to       
  Business services for all countries

Consumer panels continued to do well, with the newly
established panels in Asia Pacific performing ahead of
expectations.  The group is extending its operations in this
growth area with new panels coming on line in Malaysia,
Philippines and Hong Kong.  These developments are client-
driven and further expansion is likely.  Consoscan, the
largest panel in France, is winning new clients following
the operational improvements implemented over the past two
years.  In the UK, as Superpanel s capabilities are
expanded, the group is able to launch new services.  Its
monthly Organics service, reporting on this fast growing
area of consumer interest, is a good example.  A strong
performance was achieved on the custom side in the US and
Asia Pacific.

With 15.2 per cent underlying growth, this sector had a
strong first half.  In television audience measurement, the
group benefited from the new panel in Norway, which went
live at the beginning of the year.  Meter sales also had an
impact as Canadian partner, BBM, takes its panel nationwide.
Earlier this year, the group won the audience measurement
contract in Singapore.  Asian activities are being further
strengthened as the PeopleMeter (tm) panel in China goes
nationwide for the first time measuring the viewing habits
of the rural population as well as the urban centres.  Also
this year, the group was awarded the TV audience measurement
contract in Romania, covering 750 households, starting in
March 2001.

Media monitoring is becoming an increasingly important
sector, as the group extends its activities in advertising
tracking and analysis, broadcast and press monitoring and
evaluation.  The most important development in the period
was the acquisition of CMR, the largest provider of
advertising tracking services in the US, which was completed
in mid-June.  A number of important new business wins were
recorded in Europe and the group introduced a range of new
services, with particular emphasis on providing clients with
internet access to its information and analysis.  As skills
and expertise are shared across the group, activities are
extending into Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe.

Business services
This sector covers financial services, transport industries
and the utilities and includes a significant amount of NIPO's
business.  The contribution from transportation increased as
the global studies undertaken for UPS were extended.

As last year, this is the fastest growing sector in the
group.  In IT, the increased emphasis being placed by
clients on customer satisfaction and market tracking is
showing benefits.  This work is being won out of all three
geographic regions.  In Telecoms, where the group has a
strong established client base, a significant number of
contracts are being renewed, including the global tracking
study conducted for Ericsson.  Recent wins include two multi-
country studies for Motorola.

In the first half of the year, reasonable growth in domestic
business was recorded in the US, UK and France.  The group
is currently strengthening its capabilities to meet the
international requirements of the major pharmaceutical

The unaudited results of the group as extracted from the
financial statements are shown on the following pages.


                              6 months to 30  Audited
                                        June     Full
                               2000     1999     1999
                                 £m       £m       £m
Turnover (note 2)                              
Continuing activities         211.8    175.7    380.9
Acquisitions                    3.3      -       -
                              ------   ------  ------
                              215.1    175.7   380.9
Cost of sales                 (71.7)   (64.9) (133.7)
                              ------   ------  ------
Gross profit                  143.4    110.8   247.2
Administrative expenses      
  excluding goodwill            
  amortisation               (126.3)   (97.1) (213.2)
Goodwill amortisation          (1.9)    (0.2)   (1.4)
Administrative expenses      (128.2)   (97.3) (214.6)
                             -------   ------  ------ 
Operating profit                               
Continuing activities (after   
  goodwill amortisation of       
  £1.7m  1999 £0.2m)           15.0     13.5    32.6
Acquisitions (after goodwill  
  amortisation of £0.2m)        0.2      -       -
                              ------   ------  ------
                               15.2     13.5    32.6
Operating profit before       
  goodwill amortisation        17.1     13.7    34.0
Operating profit               15.2     13.5    32.6
Income from interests in        
  associated undertakings       0.6      0.3     0.9
                               ------   ------  ------                 
Profit on ordinary            
  activities before interest   15.8     13.8    33.5
Interest receivable and        
  similar income                0.6      0.5     0.9
Interest payable and similar  
  charges                      (2.7)    (1.7)   (3.3)
                               ------   ------  ------                
Profit on ordinary            
  activities before taxation   13.7     12.6    31.1
Taxation on ordinary          
  activities (note 3)          (4.9)    (4.1)  (10.4)
                               ------   ------  ------                
Profit on ordinary            
  activities after taxation     8.8      8.5    20.7
Minority interests             (0.3)    (0.2)   (0.4)
                               ------   ------  ------                
Profit for the year             8.5      8.3    20.3
Dividends                      (2.6)    (2.1)   (6.5)
                               ------   ------  ------                 
Retained profit for the year    5.9      6.2    13.8
                               ------   ------  ------                
Earnings per share (note 4)     2.3p     2.3p    5.5p
                               ------   ------  ------                
Earnings per share before     
  goodwill amortisation (note
  4)                            2.8p     2.3p    5.9p
                               ------   ------  ------                 
Fully diluted earnings per    
  share (note 4)                2.2p     2.2p*   5.3p*
                               ------   ------  ------                 
Dividend per share              0.7p     0.6p    1.8p
                               ------   ------  ------
* restated
There is no difference between the profit on ordinary
activities before taxation and the retained profit for the
year stated above, and their historical cost equivalents.


                                    Unaudited       Audited
                                   At 30 June     At 31 Dec  
                              2000       1999          1999
                                £m         £m            £m             
Fixed assets                                    
Intangible assets            119.8       14.1          63.4
Tangible assets               48.3       39.9          42.9
  Associates                   3.2        1.2           2.6
  Other                       11.3       11.9          11.1
                             -------   -------       --------                 

                              14.5       13.1          13.7
                            --------   --------      --------                 
                             182.6       67.1         120.0
                            --------   --------      --------                 

Current assets                                  
Stocks and work-in-progress   37.6       34.1          32.6
Debtors                      130.1      100.6         114.4
Cash at bank and in hand      19.8       23.4          22.9
                            --------   --------      --------
                             187.5      158.1         169.9
Creditors   amounts falling    
  due within one year       (249.0)    (137.9)       (186.9)
                            --------   --------      --------               
Net current                    
  assets/(liabilities)       (61.5)      20.2         (17.0)
                            --------   --------      --------              
Total assets less current      
  liabilities                121.1       87.3         103.0
Creditors amounts falling    
due after more than one year (67.2)     (65.3)        (49.2) 
Provisions for liabilities     
  and charges                (22.8)      (8.3)        (30.9)
                            --------    --------     --------          
Net assets                     31.1      13.7          22.9
Capital and reserves                            
Called up share capital        19.4      19.3          19.3
Share premium                 101.0      98.8          99.8
Other reserves                  0.4       0.4           0.4
Profit and loss account       (93.2)    (109.1)       (99.8)
                              --------  --------     --------  
Equity shareholders' funds     27.6        9.4         19.7
Minority interests              3.5        4.3          3.2
                              --------  --------     --------                 
                               31.1       13.7         22.9
                              --------  --------     -------- 


                                Unaudited       Audited
                               At 30 June     At 31 Dec
                           2000      1999          1999
                             £m        £m            £m                 
Cash flow from operating   
  activities (note 5)      10.5      13.1          38.6
                          -------   -------       -------                   
Returns on investments                       
  and servicing of finance
Interest received           0.6       0.5           0.6
Interest paid              (2.6)     (1.9)         (2.8)
Interest element of         
  finance leases             -          -          (0.1)
Dividends paid to          
  minorities               (0.5)      -            (0.5)
Dividends received from     
  associates                0.1       -             -
                           -------  -------       -------                  
Net cash outflow from      
  returns on investments
  and servicing of finance (2.4)     (1.4)         (2.8)
                           -------  -------       -------                    
Taxation paid              (5.7)     (3.7)         (5.4)
Capital expenditure and                      
  financial investment
Purchase of tangible       
  fixed assets             (6.0)     (6.6)        (15.3)                 
Purchase of intangible     
  fixed assets              -        (0.1)         (0.7)
Development expenditure    
  capitalised               -        (1.5)         (1.5)
Purchase of investments    (0.1)     (0.2)         (0.5)
Sale of tangible fixed     
  assets                    0.2       0.5           0.3
                           -------   -------      -------        
Net cash outflow from      
  capital expenditure and                     
  financial investment     (5.9)     (7.9)        (17.7)
                          -------   -------      -------          
Acquisitions and                             
Purchase of undertakings   (75.7)    (7.5)        (40.8)
Net cash acquired with     
  subsidiary undertakings    1.3      1.1           2.1
                           -------  -------       -------          
Net cash outflow from      
  acquisitions and          
  disposals                (74.4)    (6.4)        (38.7)
Dividends paid               -        -            (5.5)
                          -------   -------       -------                  
Cash outflow before use    
  of liquid resources and    
  financing                (77.9)    (6.3)        (31.5)
Issue of shares              0.2      0.1           1.3
Increase/(decrease) in      
  net debt                  74.3     (1.4)         22.8
                          -------   -------       -------               
Decrease in cash in the   
  period (note 5)           (3.4)    (7.6)         (7.4)
                          -------   -------       -------


                                         Unaudited      Audited
                               6 months to 30 June    Full year 
                                     2000     1999         1999
                                       £m       £m           £m
Profit for the period                 8.5      8.3         20.3
Translation differences on                     
  foreign currency net          
  investments less translation
  differences on foreign
  currency loans taken out to
  fund those investments              0.8       2.4          5.1
Tax on gains on foreign       
  currency borrowings hedging
  foreign investments                (0.1)      -           (0.6)
                                    -------   -------      -------           
Total gains and losses        
  recognised                          9.2      10.7         24.8
                                    -------   -------      -------


                                            Unaudited      Audited
                                  6 months to 30 June    Full year   
                                         2000    1999         1999
                                           £m      £m           £m
Profit for the period                     8.5     8.3         20.3
Dividends                                (2.6)   (2.1)        (6.5)
                                        ------  ------      -------
                                          5.9     6.2         13.8
Other recognised gains and  
  losses (net of taxation)                0.7     2.4          4.5
New share capital issued   
  (including share premium)               1.3     0.3          1.3
Revision to fair values                   -       0.4          -
                                        ------  ------      -------
Net addition to             
  shareholders' funds                     7.9     9.3         19.6
Opening shareholders'        
  funds                                  19.7     0.1          0.1
                                        ------  ------      -------           
Closing shareholders        
  funds                                  27.6     9.4         19.7

1   Basis of preparation
    The financial statements have been prepared on the basis
    of the accounting policies set out in the group's 1999
    annual report.  The interim financial statements, which
    were approved by the directors on 11 September 2000, are
    unaudited and have not been reviewed in accordance with
    APB 1993/1.  The interim report does not comprise full
    financial statements within the meaning of Section 240 of
    the Companies Act 1985.  The figures for the year ended
    31 December 1999 are an extract from the full financial
    statements for that period, which have been delivered to
    the Registrar of Companies. The auditors' opinion on
    those accounts was unqualified and did not contain a
    statement under Section 237 (2) or (3) of the Companies
    Act 1985.

2   Geographic analysis
                                          6 months to 30 June
                                               2000      1999
               Continuing    Acquisitions     Total     Total
                       £m              £m        £m        £m
  Sales by origin                                
  Europe            164.7             1.3     166.0     141.1
  Americas           30.5             2.0      32.5      22.6
  Asia Pacific       16.6             -        16.6      12.0
                   -------          -------  -------    -------              
                    211.8             3.3     215.1     175.7
                   -------          -------  -------    -------

3    Taxation
     The tax charge of £4.9 million (1999 £4.1 million)
     includes £3.5 million (1999 £2.4 million) relating to
     overseas taxation.
4    Earnings per share
     Earnings per share have been calculated on the profit
     after tax and minority interests of £8.5 million (1999
     £8.3 million) and on 369.5 million shares (1999 367.1
     million), being the average number of shares in issue
     fully ranking for dividends in the period.  This excludes
     shares held in trust for employee share schemes, as it is
     considered that the dividend waiver of all but 0.001p per
     share constitutes a full waiver for these purposes.  The
     fully diluted earnings per share have been calculated in
     accordance with the provisions of FRS 14 after assuming
     the conversion of all outstanding share options.
     The fully diluted average number of shares in issue was
     387.6 million (1999 379.7 million).  Comparative figures
     for fully diluted earnings per share (previously reported
     as 2.1p for the six months ended 30 June 1999 and 5.1p
     for the year ended 31 December 1999) have been amended to
     be consistent with the current year and the requirements
     of FRS 14.
     Earnings per share before goodwill amortisation have been
     calculated on the profit after taxation and minority
     interests excluding goodwill amortisation (2000 £1.9
     million  1999 £0.2 million) of £10.4 million (1999 £8.5
5    Consolidated statement of cash flow

Reconciliation of operating profit to net cash inflow from
operating activities
                                   Unaudited         Audited
                         6 months to 30 June       Full year
                            2000        1999            1999
                              £m          £m              £m
Operating profit            15.2        13.5            32.6
Amortisation of        
  intangible fixed
  assets                     2.2         0.7             2.2
Depreciation of        
  tangible fixed assets      6.9         5.2            12.3
(Increase) in stocks   
  and work-in-progress      (4.1)       (4.6)           (1.7)
(Increase) in debtors       (5.0)      (15.0)          (20.6)
  in creditors              (4.7)       12.0            14.6
Provisions                   -           1.3            (0.8)
                          -------    -------         -------
Net cash inflow from  
  operating activities      10.5        13.1            38.6
                          -------    -------         -------                  

Analysis of net debt
                 At 1 Jan    Cashflow  Exchange   Acquisitions   At 30 June
                     2000              movement                        2000
                       £m          £m        £m             £m           £m
Cash at bank  
  and in hand        22.9        (4.7)      0.3            1.3         19.8
  within 1 year     (37.4)      (58.6)     (0.1)            -         (96.1)
  after more
  than 1 year       (48.3)      (16.1)     (1.6)            -         (66.0)
  under finance
  leases             (0.8)        0.4      (0.1)            -          (0.5)
                   -------      -------   -------        -------    --------
                    (63.6)      (79.0)     (1.5)           1.3       (142.8)
                   -------      -------   -------        -------    --------

Analysed in balance sheet
                                         Unaudited             Audited
                               6 months to 30 June           Full year  
                             2000             1999                1999
                               £m               £m                  £m        
Analysed in balance sheet

Cash at bank and in hand     19.8             23.4                22.9
Bank loans repayable      
  within 1 year             (96.1)            (0.4)              (37.4)
Bank loans repayable      
  after more than 1 year    (66.0)           (64.2)              (48.3)
Finance leases repayable  
  within 1 year              (0.1)            (0.4)               (0.2)
Finance leases repayable  
  after more than 1 year     (0.4)            (0.8)               (0.6)
                          --------           -------             -------      
                           (142.8)           (42.4)              (63.6)

6    Acquisitions
     The group has made the following acquisitions in the year    
     to date:
Business           Month     Principal    Sector             1999  Net assets
                             country of                   turnover   acquired

PIAR and SIAR     February   Turkey       Cross sector       $5.0m      $0.5m
Competitive Media 
  Reporting       June       US           Media monitoring  $54.0m      $8.9m
RADAR             June       UK           Consumer           £1.1m      £0.1m
Gallup Argentina  July       Argentina    Cross Sector       $7.6m      $2.7m
Teleseker         September  Israel       Cross Sector       $4.2m      $1.3m

Goodwill has been calculated using provisional fair values.

Additional information

The interim dividend will be paid on 15 December 2000 to
shareholders on the register on 17 November 2000.

Copies of this release are available from the Investor
Relations Manager, Taylor Nelson Sofres plc, Westgate,
London W5 1UA and it is on the group s internet site at

a d v e r t i s e m e n t