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Ebiquity toasts "excellent" year showing double-digit growth

Marketing analytics specialist Ebiquity saw double-digit revenue and proft growth in the year to end April....

Ebiquity makes sure companies are getting enough bang for their advertising and marketing buck....

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Marketing analytics specialist Ebiquity (LON:EBQ) saw double-digit revenue and profit growth in the year to end April and has declared a maiden dividend.

The group, whose shares nudged higher on Tuesday after delivering forecast-beating numbers, said it entered the new year with a pipeline of opportunities and is confident of growth.

Ebiquity makes sure companies are getting enough bang for their advertising and marketing buck as well as showing them how they can improve that return on investment.

Clients include domestic and global businesses with over 78% of its business now coming internationally.

The firm enjoyed particularly strong growth in both the media value measurement (MVM) and marketing performance optimisation (MPO) divisions - which together account for 65% of the group (2014: 60%) - with combined like for like constant currency revenue growth rates of 14.7%.

The third division, market intelligence, which has been in minor decline in  recent years, significantly improved client renewal rate to 95% (2014: 87%) and the ongoing enhancement programme is expected to return the division to modest growth in 2016.

Revenue in the year to end April was up 11% on a constant currency basis to £76.3mln (2014: £68.5mln) and up 8% to £73.9mln (2014: £68.5mln) on a reported basis.

Profit before tax was up 64% at constant currency basis to £5.6mln (2014: £3.4mln) and up 38% to £4.7mln (2014: £3.4mln) on a reported basis.

House broker Numis, which rates the shares 'buy', said the pre-tax profit of £10.6mln had been slightly ahead of its estimate, at  £10.5mln.

It repeated a pre-tax profit forecast of £12.3mln for the year to April 2016 and has an estimate of £13.6mln for 2017 based on organic revenue growth of over 7% in both years.

The firm also revealed today it is changing its year end to December to give it more visibility on potential outcomes, as more of its revenues are made in the first half.

Numis now forecasts £11.1mln pre-tax profit for December 2015 rising to £13 mln for December 2016.

Analyst Paul Richards said the group's new year had seen "unprecedented" levels of account reviews being bought.

This has provided Ebiquity to not only provide pitch advice, but also to build an on-going relationship to monitor an agency's compliance with the terms of a client's new contract, he highlighted.

Ebiquity today recommended a maiden dividend of 0.4p reflecting its confidence on future growth.

Speaking to Proactive earlier, Michael Greenlees, chief executive, said the driver of the business will be market performance optimisation, which had seen a great performance in the year gone.

It helps clients make sense of the mass of marketing data so it can allocate spend suitably.

Earlier, he told the results statement: "The positive current market dynamics are closely aligned to our sector-leading service offering and position Ebiquity at the forefront of global marketing and data analytics.

"The strategic initiatives implemented across all three divisions throughout the year, combined with our strong new business pipeline, enable us to look forward to the future with confidence.

Shares added 1.08% to 140.625p.

The Numis target is 162p.

Quick facts: Ebiquity PLC

Price: 38 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £28.85 m

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