In advance of its Annual General Meeting, Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC, the UK’s leading price comparison website, issues the following Interim Management Statement relating to the period from 1 January 2009 to 15 April 2009.
The financial and operational data set out below is in respect of the Group’s first quarter (1 January 2009 to 31 March 2009) 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 at the time of the announcement of the preliminary results on 25 February 2009.
Trading in quarter one has been stable and Group revenues for the first quarter are, as we expected, approximately one third below the same period last year.
Revenues in the Money vertical are slightly in excess of 50% lower than the same period last year. Revenues from credit-related products are markedly down over the same period last year, while demand for non-credit products, particularly savings and current accounts, remains strong.
Revenues in the Insurance vertical are approximately 10% lower than the same period last year. The motor insurance marketplace continues to be competitive, but the Group has seen growth in its Home Insurance business. Demand for discretionary insurance in general, including travel insurance, was lower than the same period last year.
Revenues in the Home Services vertical are approximately 50% below the same period last year. Revenue is driven primarily from changes to utilities pricing and utilities tariffs have been relatively stable over the period. However, recent price reductions increased demand markedly in March and we expect the Group to continue to benefit from this demand in the short term.
Revenues in the Travel vertical are approximately 10% down over the same period last year. Revenues relating to short breaks, including hotels and flights, have continued to be impacted by the lower levels of consumer spending in general.
Demand for package holidays, however, remains strong and revenues in quarter one were significantly ahead of the same period last year.
Travelsupermarket.com’s website has undergone a major redesign which will be launched to the general public during April. Initial feedback and the results from testing are very positive.
Visitor numbers across the Group as a whole increased by 6% during quarter one.
The Group continues to remain cash generative and had cash balances of £81m at the end of March 2009.
As indicated at the preliminary results announcement the Group has examined its cost base and, following a review of headcount, has reduced overall staff levels by approximately 80 people, bringing the total headcount to around 470.
This is expected to deliver an annualised cost saving in the region of £2.3m which will start to be realised in the second half of the year.
Peter Plumb, chief executive officer, said: “Trading levels appear to have stabilised over the course of quarter one. As promised at the time of the preliminary results we have taken action to reconfigure our cost base for the lower levels of both demand and supply arising from the current recession.
“We have also made good progress over a relatively short period of time with our marketing plans and these should deliver benefits in the second half of the year.
“We remain the UK’s leading price comparison website and customers remain at the heart of everything we do. We continue to add functionality and products to our site to make it even more useful for customers.
“I am confident that the successful execution of the Group’s strategy in 2009 will position moneysupermarket.com for continued long term sustainable growth.”