LONDON, July 31 Moneysupermarket.com
said sales growth had ground to a halt in July after its rival
price comparison website operators stepped up television
advertising, sending its share price to a three-month low on
The company's stock fell 18 percent to 172.5 pence as some
analysts said the slowdown, which started in the second quarter,
raised concerns the firm would not meet their full-year
The group which owns Moneysupermarket.com, where customers
can compare prices for various services, said revenues had been
affected by the timing of its new TV ad campaign, which will
launch in August, compared with July last year.
By contrast, it said its main competitors had launched new
TV campaigns in the second quarter.
Price comparison sites have advertised heavily in recent
years as they fight for customers looking for motor, travel and
home insurance, energy suppliers, loans and other products.
"Revenue in July is flat year-on-year against a strong July
last year when the new advertising campaign was launched," the
company said in a statement.
Moneysupermarket.com's main rivals include Confused.com,
Comparethemarket.com and Gocompare.com, which are not
individually listed on stock exchanges.
The comments on trading came as the group posted a 29
percent rise in adjusted core earnings of 39.9 million pounds
($61 million) for the first half, on revenue up 10 percent to
112.3 million pounds, in line with analysts' expectations.
The group said travel and home services performed well in
the first half, but savings products were hit by the
government's funding-for-lending scheme, which was reducing
It also said demand for insurance weakened in the second
quarter, in part affected by a change in Google's algorithms in
May that reduced the company's ranking in searches.
Analyst Steve Liechti at Investec said the first-half
numbers were fine, but the full-year outlook looked an issue,
and he intended to tweak down his forecasts.
"July sales are only flat, but the new ad campaign is
delayed to August this year versus July before, so this could be
clawed back," he said.
The firm, which raised its interim dividend by 20 percent to
2.16 pence, also announced that Chief Financial Officer Paul
Doughty would leave the company by June 2014.