April 17, 2013 / 10:09 AM / in 5 years

Moneysupermarket.com earnings up after website visitors rise

LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - British price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com Group increased earnings by 31 percent in the first quarter of 2013, driven by increased visitor numbers and flat costs.

The number of visitors to moneysupermarket.com rose 8 percent as price comparison websites continued to benefit from shoppers seeking deals to make their money go further.

Moneysupermarket, which gets paid by providers to sell goods to consumers, said trading in the first weeks of the second quarter was in line with Q1 trends and remained “confident” of the outlook for the rest of the year.

Revenue in the first quarter rose 13 percent, the company said in a trading update on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Peter Plumb said strong growth in its insurance, home services and travel businesses more than offset lower demand in its money division, which includes credit cards, loans and savings products.

Revenues in the money unit were 11 percent lower than the first quarter of 2012 , although visitor numbers were 7 percent higher.

Revenues from products like savings fell 45 percent because of the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) had reduced competition among banks to attract retail deposits.

Under FLS, banks are offered cheap funds if they step up lending to home-buyers and small and medium-sized businesses.

Revenues generated from personal finance website MoneySavingExpert.com, acquired last year for 87 million pounds ($133 million), including from moneysupermarket.com were fractionally ahead of last year.

“There are early signs that traffic acquisition costs are coming down on the back of the MoneySavingExpert deal, should this trend become established, there will be a material impact on operational profitability going forward,” said David Reynolds, equity analyst at Jefferies in a note.

The company’s shares, listed on the London Stock Exchange, rose 1.8 percent to 188 pence on Wednesday, taking its market cap above a billion pounds.

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