Despite getting some high profile calls wrong during the period– most notably May’s General Election – full year numbers for the year to 30 July from pollster YouGov (YOU) get a thumbs up from the market with the shares rising 3% to 119p.
YouGov – along with most of the polling industry – got the result of the UK election wrong but CEO Stephan Shakespeare tells Shares that the political polling business accounts for a modest amount of group revenue. ‘Of course it’s embarrassing but it doesn’t impact on our client’s perception of us as a provider of marketing data.’ Adding that there has been little damage to the YouGov brand.
With an online panel of more than 2.5 million respondents spanning upwards of 11 countries the group increasingly derives its revenues from the Data Products and Services (DP&S) division – dominated by its Brand Index and Omnibus products.
Brand Index tracks the public perception of global brands on a daily basis allowing companies to keep a close eye on their brand’s health and act fast on any changes in perception. Omnibus is a vehicle allowing organisations like PR agencies, advertisers and charities to find out about people’s opinions, attitudes and behaviours. DP&S accounted for 34% of July 2015 revenues – up from 29% a year earlier. The company is seeing strong growth in the US and is targeting a number of other geographies including Germany. There is also a 25% increase in the dividend to 1p.
It is worth being aware of the adjustments YouGov makes to its profits. Adjusted pre-tax profit for the year totalled £9.1 million but the statutory number is just £2.7 million. The difference is accounted for by the amortisation of intangible assets and exceptional items. The former accounts for £4.6 million on its own and reflects investments in areas including software and investment to grow its panel of respondents.
Chief financial officer Alan Newman says: ‘As well as exceptional and non-recurring costs, the difference reflects the amortisation of intangible assets – both the ones we buy and those we generate through organic investment. They can be quite lumpy and relate to capital expenditure so we use the adjusted figure in order to present annual profits on a comparable basis – they are clearly visible in our accounts.’
Investors need to take their own view. House broker Numis’ take on the results is positive. It reiterates its buy recommendation and ups its price target from 142p to 144p, commenting: ‘We maintain our PBT/EPS forecasts for £10.7m/8.0p for July 2016 and introduce a 2017 estimate of £12.5m/9.2p, both of which we view as conservative given the strong momentum across the group.’