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Moneysupermarket searches squeezed across all channels in third quarter

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Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC (LON:MONY) reported continued weakness in its insurance and money segments, with home services also joining the declines in the third quarter of the year.

Group revenue of £85.1mln for the price comparison website in the three months to September 30 was down 16% on the same point last year, with the company saying COVID-19 disruption was affecting several of its channels.

READ: Moneysupermarket.com highlights recovery of motor and home insurance but travel lags

Cash flows were said to be “robust” and after payment of the interim dividend, there remained a net cash position of £5mln in the bank at the end of the quarter.

Insurance revenue was down 8% to £45.7mln saw strong motor performance but declines in home and life insurance searches and understandably minimal demand for travel insurance.

Money revenue dropped 40% to £12.5mln as banking demand remained low due to tightened lending criteria and low product availability, though there were said to be good levels of search demand for lending products.

Home services fell 13% to £15.5mln, having grown in July but slowed as the quarter progressed as the UK energy price cap fell and so the level of savings available to customers fell sharply, and energy market switching reduced substantially.

In the start of the fourth quarter, motor insurance has benefitted from strong but slowing market growth, though this is not being seen in other insurance channels, while there has been “little improvement” in money or home services.

New chief executive Peter Duffy, who joined from Just Eat at the start of last month, said: “Our markets continue to be impacted by COVID-19, which is affecting our current performance.

“However, the group benefits from strong brands and high levels of cash conversion, so we are well positioned to weather this period of economic uncertainty and deliver future growth.”

Shares in the group fell over 4% to 254.79p in the first hour of trading on Thursday.

Broker Shore Capital said it was putting its recommendation under view, having had a ‘buy’ rating for the shares, as it reviews full year forecasts in light of the new information in this morning’s release as short term share price progress “appears unlikely”.

Shore Cap analyst Roddy Davidson added: “Notwithstanding this cautious short-term picture, we believe MONY’s proven ability to deliver substantial savings across a range of categories will stand it in good stead as the pandemic’s economic consequences play out.

“Substantial sunk investment in technology, improving customer experience/site functionality and in developing new products and its financial strength/cash generative characteristics also bode well. We also look forward to hearing more from Peter Duffy on his plans to bring fresh thinking and impetus to the business.”

  —Adds broker comment–

Moneysupermarket reports decline across all channels in third quarter

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