Moneysupermarket rises on credit crunch

Click to follow
The Independent Online

By James Daley, Personal Finance Editor, the financial comparison website, said yesterday it had seen a doubling of traffic on its website over the past few days, as savers flocked to its site to look for a safe home for their money during the credit crisis.

Publishing the company's first interim results as a public company, the chief executive, Simon Nixon, revealed that more than twice as many customers as normal had searched for new savings products on the site since last Friday, while mortgage and loan enquiries were also up 50 and 30 per cent respectively.

Pre-tax profits for the first half of the year came in at £6.78m, up from a loss of more than £8.1m in the same period last year. The group said revenues had risen by 63 per cent from £48.2m to £78.5m, as the volume of visitors soared.

The company – which allows investors to compare prices on banking, insurance, travel and home services – has invested millions of pounds in television advertising over the past year to raise its brand awareness, and now claims to have brand recognition of 74 per cent, compared to 40 per cent at the same point in 2006.

The group said the outlook for the second half was good, claiming that it had enjoyed a good start to the third quarter due to the poor summer, which drove more people on to the internet, and as a result of an intensified marketing push. It added that it had not seen any adverse effects as a result of the credit crunch.

The company floated in July – the biggest IPO by a website since Google's float in 2004 – but has seen its shares hammered since coming to the market. After floating towards the bottom end of its range, at 170p, its shares hit lows of about 140p last month, before recovering slightly over the past few weeks.

The positive results saw its stock advance 0.8 per cent yesterday, to close at 157p, giving the company a market value of £780m.