Moneysupermarket sees earnings drop

Steve Dinneen
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Price comparison website saw its revenues for the full-year plunge 23 per cent to £137m while adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 26 per cent to £36m.

Despite this it will pay a special dividend after saying its business has stabilised and trading improved in February as customers hunt for better deals. The firm said it benefited as customers no longer trusted their banks, and wished to conduct more research before buying products.

The group’s full-year results were in line with forecasts.

Chairman Gerald Corbett said: “While 2009 was a tough year for the group, it is a measure of the resilience of the business that it was able to maintain its dividend at 2008 levels and declare two special dividends totalling £50m.”

Chief executive Peter Plumb said the results had been hit by the withdrawal of credit products and the drop in consumer confidence, which hit the money division.

He said conditions had eased in the mortgage market but added that demand was still weak and said the sector was likely to remain tough for the year. The group maintained its market share.

Moneysupermarket said the administrative and distribution cost base fell 13 per cent. The firm remains debt free.

The company, which runs finance and travel price comparison websites, said the board was confident in its full-year prospects. It attracted 120m visitors to its sites, which was flat on the previous year.