* Q1 internet revenue up 14 pct, EBITDA up 12 pct
* Says Q2 revenue and profitability rates stronger
* Revenues at Money unit up 22 pct, down 11 pct at Travel
* Shares down 1.4 pct
LONDON, April 18 Price comparison website
Moneysupermarket.com Group said its money and insurance
segments had made a strong start to the year, boosting earnings
and off-seting a slowdown in travel by cash-strapped Britons.
The company said first quarter internet revenue was 14
percent higher than a year earlier and core earnings were 12
percent ahead, ensuring the company performed in line with the
board's expectations during the period.
Moneysupermarket, whose website had 140 million visitors
last year, also said on Wednesday that it had made a good start
to the second quarter of the year with revenue and profitability
rates both up relative to the first three months of the year.
With British disposable incomes squeezed by rising prices,
muted wage growth and government austerity measures,
Moneysupermarket has benefited from shoppers actively looking
for promotional deals to make their money go further.
The company said revenues from its Money unit, where
consumers can compare banking products such as credit cards and
mortgages, were particularly strong, rising 22 percent versus
last year after a 20 percent jump in visitor volumes.
Moneysupermarket said its insurance division also performed
well, with revenues up 13 percent on the back of a 9 percent
rise in visitor numbers. It described revenues at its Home
Services unit, where people can compare utility prices, as being
However, the travel segment, which has struggled over the
past year, continues to decline with fewer holiday makers
seeking deals on the website. Revenues and visitor numbers both
fell 11 percent as a result of weak consumer spending on
discretionary items that has also seen big travel operators such
as Thomas Cook suffer.
The company said, however, that its new package holidays
channel was performing well.
"MoneySupermarket.com has made a good start to 2012. We have
seen solid growth in our Money and Insurance businesses as
consumers continue to use us to make their money go further,"
said Peter Plumb, chief executive of Moneysupermarket.
Visitor numbers for the website across all the segments were
15 percent higher than the first quarter of 2011.
"Momentum continues to build and this update provides
further evidence to support the structural market growth
opportunity and medium term scope for progression," Mark
Fleetwood, analyst at N+1 Brewin, said in a note to clients.
Fleetwood said his forecasts were unchanged following the
statement but that he had changed his rating on Moneysupermarket
shares to "hold" from "add" and stuck with a 140 pence price
target following a recent strong run for the stock.
Shares in the company, which had gained 29 percent since the
start of the year, were down 1.4 percent at 133.8 pence by 0739
GMT, slightly underperforming a 0.1 percent weaker FTSE 250