Kantar's first quarter revenue was up 3% to $896m, with six of its seven divisions delivering growth. This includes double digit increases from the group's consumer and shopper behavior specialist Worldpanel, and public policy services provider Kantar Public.
At the end of 2019, WPP sold a 60% stake in Kantar to private equity firm Bain Capital, which has since been restructuring the business, with various sell-offs and acquisitions. In a trading update, Kantar said 'strong conversion' of its revenue growth to profit, with $118m EBITDA, up 59% year on year, reflects the group's progress against transformation plans, together with 'effective cost control'. Ian Griffiths (pictured), Deputy CEO and CFO, says Kantar is making 'good progress' in reshaping the business.
During the quarter, the Public division delivered the highest growth of $13m, or 34%, driven by the UK's research around Covid in support of the NHA home testing program. The firm's Worldpanel division grew by $8m, or 11%, and the Health division saw revenue up $6m, or 15%, with particularly strong growth in the US. Kantar's other three custom businesses - Insights, Profiles and Consulting - all grew between 0.1% and 4% in Q1. Offsetting the growth was a $4m, or 3%, decline in the Media division. Geographically, Kantar experienced 6% growth in its 'Faster Growing Markets', with the largest impact in Asia Pacific fueled by growth in China and India; while its 'Mature Markets' also grew by 2%, driven by 'strong growth' across most divisions in the UK.
Staff costs decreased by $8m, or 2% $391m in the quarter, mainly as a result of Kantar's restructuring of its cost base in 2020, which delivered $43m of structural savings. General and administrative costs fell by $9m, or 10%, from $92m in the first quarter, due partly to a combination of new ways of working requiring less office and travel expenses.
First quarter EBITDA increased by $44m from $74m in the prior year period, to $118m in Q1 2021, and Q1 2021 revenue, excluding the divested Health division, was $848m. Griffiths claims that first quarter growth, Kantar's third sequential quarter of improving performance, takes the business back to pre-pandemic trading levels. 'The double-digit growth and good results, reflect the trust client's place in our data, insights and consultancy services. I am pleased with the pace of transition we are achieving in the shift of our survey methodology from face-to-face to online'.
Web site: www.kantar.com .
All articles 2006-21 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.