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MoneySupermarket.com Group sees shares slide as guidance for flat earnings in 2018 overshadows revenue growth

Adjusted EBITDA for 2017 increased 5% to £127.2mln, with group revenue increasing 4% to £329.7mln over the same period
Pound Notes
The company said that it expects adjusted EBITDA for 2018 to be "broadly flat" before growth resumes in 2019

Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC (LON:MONY) shares fell in early Thursday trading as increases in revenue and operating profit in 2017 period were tempered by guidance for flat EBITDA in 2018.

Shares on the FTSE 250-listed price comparison group tumbled by 24.57% to 248p.

Adjusted EBITDA for 2017 increased 5% to £127.2mln, with group revenue increasing 4% to £329.7mln over the same period.

The company also announced a dividend increase of 6% to 10.44p per share, a continuation of its progressive dividend policy.

READ: Moneysupermarket.com downgraded as RBC sees near term challenges

However, in its guidance the company said that it expected the adjusted EBITDA for 2018 to be "broadly flat" before growth resumes in 2019.

It also said that it expected growth to be slower than its core markets in 2018, below 6%.

This accompanied disappointing results for its home services arm of Moneysupermarket.com, where revenues declined 22% across 2017 in contrast to growth of between 3% and 13% across all other areas.

Company strategy for the coming year included a £5mln investment to build product engineering teams focusing on customer experience optimisation and innovation following the completion of a replatforming of its technology infrastructure.

Analyst comment

In a note to investors, Liberum Capital reiterated its “Hold” rating for Moneysupermarket.com, but expected a 10% downgrade to FY2018 consensus estimates driven by lower revenue expectations and more investment focused around people.

The broker added that the new strategy made sense in terms of increased personalisation for consumers, but it also highlighted the fundamental issue the company faced of the low barrier to switching Price Comparison Websites.

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