Group Says U.K. Has "Caught The Money-Saving Bug"


LONDON -- Despite a strong start to the year for the FTSE 100, Britain is not yet out of the doldrums following rating agency Moody's decision to deprive the U.K. of its top-notch AAA credit rating. Consumers continue to be canny, therefore, and that has only helped .

Today, the country's leading price-comparison website released its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2012, with chief executive officer Peter Plumb commenting that "the UK has caught the money-saving bug."

Moneysupermarket reported a 15% increase in adjusted revenue, up from 2011's figure of 181 million pounds to 204.8 million pounds, while statutory profit after tax leaped 48% to reach 24.8 million pounds. Adjusted EBITDA rose by 26% to 66.5 million pounds, which led to an excellent cash conversion -- 97% of EBITDA was converted to cash.

The company credited the success to its market-leading position and share maintained in a competitive marketplace, while "continued structural growth in our online markets and targeted investment in technology and brand building [is] helping to improve conversion rates."

CEO Plumb went on to say:

We helped customers save over [1 billion pounds] in 2012 as households, faced with the uncertain outlook, sought savings on their bills.

The 15% rise in revenues, 26% increase in profits and 30% higher dividend to shareholders were only possible because of our continuing investment in the MoneySupermarket brand, in digital marketing and technology, and in making sure customers find us the best shop for comparing prices.

While the Government's Funding For Lending scheme has affected demand for comparing savings products, we remain in a structurally growing market. We'll continue to succeed by carrying on giving customers and product providers a better and broader service than others. That way we can save more people more money and continue to build our business.

The company also completed the acquisition for MoneySavingExpert on 21 September 2012 for up to 92.5 million pounds: an initial payment of 65.5 million pounds, and a deferred consideration up to 27 million pounds. Since the buyout, it continues to show strong trading, as Plumb continued: has added to what we offer consumers. Our brands-while continuing to operate independently-give us a greater ability to help more customers and will accelerate progress toward our goal of helping every consumer make the most of their money.

Following a 30% increase to the final dividend (3.94 pence), Moneysupermarket raised its ordinary dividend for the year by 27% to 5.74 pence. This is ahead of the previous year's 4.53%; however, there was no special dividend this year in contrast to 2011's additional 3.93 pence per share.

The company's initial flotation in 2007 was generally considered a flop by analysts; having been originally priced at 170 pence, over the next couple of years the shares fell sharply down to 34.5 pence at 2009's nadir. However, they have since then proved their worth and realized their growth potential, more than doubling by 2011 and increasing another twofold by the start of this year, where they surpassed 160 pence.

It took only two weeks until mid-January for the shares to regain their original value, and have since carried on the spurt to reach a high of 204 pence today, with CEO Plumb commenting: "January and February have been good months for us and we expect another record year.'' This indicates that 2013 could continue to be fruitful for Moneysupermarket, as consumers continue to look for ways to cut costs from their day-to-day lives. As ever, make sure to do your own research if you are interested in joining the FTSE 250 company's growth story at this stage -- today's news is sure to encourage potential investors, though.

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