Boulogne-Billancourt, 23rd March 2010
MEETIC (ISIN: FR0004063097), the European leader in online dating, today announces its consolidated results for the financial year to 31st December 2009, examined by the Board during its meeting of 17th March 2010.
Meetic’s 2009 annual revenue excluding ParPerfeito contribution came to 157.9 million euros, up +23.6% compared to 2008 and up +27.2% at constant forex. Pro forma, i.e. assuming the acquisition of Match.com’s European activities took place on 1st January 2009, the Group’s consolidated revenue excluding ParPerfeito would have been 182.3 million euros.
EBITDA margin: upper end of the guidance bracket
Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA), and after the cost of free shares, totalled 37.3 million euros, a jump of +185.7% compared to 2008. This surge in profitability was notably due to cost synergies resulting from the integration of Match.com’s European activities, as well as the planned reduction in marketing investments over the fourth quarter, traditionally not a very favourable quarter for the acquisition of new subscribers. Synergies already recorded over the first 7 months of integration of Match.com’s European activities are estimated at 8.0 million euros. Over the financial year as a whole, marketing investments totalled 71.0 million euros, ie. 45.0% of 2009 revenue, versus 57.6% of revenue in 2008.
Personnel expenses came to 26.7 million euros (including a non-cash expense of 3.6 million euros associated with free share allocation programmes), ie. 16.9% of 2009 revenue versus 17.4% in 2008. The Group’s headcount at December 2009 stood at 386 staff, versus 326 at December 2008. This increase reflects the growth in activity as well as changes in the Meetic group’s scope.
Consequently, the EBITDA margin before and after the cost of free shares was 25.9% and 23.7% respectively, and was thus at the upper end of the guidance bracket published by the Group.
Net profit: 19.7 million euros
The Group’s net profit consisted of net profit from continuing activities, which totalled 22.3 million euros, an increase of +153.0% compared to 2008, and the net profit from discontinued activities or in the process of being divested, which totalled -2.6 million euros.
As announced on 10th March 2010, Meetic and Match.com have completed the creation of a joint venture for the development of their activities in Latin America. The profit from the Brazilian subsidiary ParPerfeito was thus written down under net profit from discontinued activities or in the process of being divested.
Net profit from discontinued activities notably includes ParPerfeito’s 2009 net profit of 0.8 million euros, capital gains of 1.2 million euros corresponding to the value of the ParPerfeito shares the Group contributed to the new JV with Match.com, and the writing down of the deconsolidation of ParPerfeito’s positive contribution to the Group’s results since 2006, i.e. a carrying value of -5.2 million euros, which had no impact on the cash position.
Further strengthening of the financial structure
The Group continues to benefit from a business model that generates positive cash flow thanks to its subscription-based economic model.
Operating cash flow totalled 34.3 million euros over the financial year as a whole, pushing up the Group’s cash position to 46.1 millions euros at end-2009 (including cash from activities currently being divested). The Group’s only financial debt is that associated with the acquisition of MIL, and totalled 0.3 million euros at 31st December 2009. Moreover, the additional cash payment associated with the contribution of ParPerfeito’s shares to the new Joint Venture created with Match.com totalled 3 million dollars, with payment carried out when the operation was finalised on 10th March 2010.
Proposed payment of a dividend of 1.5 euro per share
Given the success of the major strategic achievements recorded in 2009, but also given our cash-generating model, Meetic’s Board of Directors decided, at its meeting of 17th March, to propose the payment of a dividend to its shareholders. The Board is suggesting a dividend of 1.5 euro per share. This major initiative reflects management’s unyielding confidence in the pursuance of its profitable growth strategy.
2010 strategy and outlook: EBITDA margin target of 20 – 25% reaffirmed
Backed by the substantial renown of the brands acquired by the Group in Europe and on the unparalleled segmentation of its offer – Dating (Meetic), Matchmaking (Meetic Affinity), Flirting (Peexme), Premium introductions (Meetic VIP) – Meetic has all the cards in hand to pursue its profitable growth strategy.
With an exceptional positioning on the Dating segment, in 2010 Meetic will deploy its Matchmaking offer across all its main European markets, and has already been massively promoting its Affinity product on these markets since the middle of the first quarter, promotion efforts that will continue throughout 2010.
Peexme, the group’s new Flirting site, is benefiting from major viral development in early 2010 through its integration within the Facebook site (Peexme uses Facebook Connect technology and is fully integrated within Facebook). Lastly, Meetic VIP, the Premium dating site based on introductions, will be commercialised in France during the second quarter, and should then be adapted to the Group’s other main markets through the rest of the year. The integration of Match.com’s European activities is continuing, and will be finalised before the end of the first half of 2010. With an estimated 8.0 million euros in cost synergies recorded over the 7 months of integration in 2009, and with the majority of the technical integration now effective, the Group is fully confident in its ability to generate the cost and revenue synergies anticipated when it acquired Match’s European activities in June 2009.
Backed by these strategic assets, Meetic is able to reaffirm it profitable growth forecast for the current financial year: an EBITDA* margin of between 20 and 25% of 2010 revenue.Marc Simoncini, CEO and founder of Meetic, concludes: “The decision to offer a dividend for the first time since our IPO is a major symbolic step for Meetic. This move reflects our desire to thank our shareholders who have accompanied us throughout our development, as well as our confidence in our ability to pursue our profitable growth and cash-generating strategy. The Group intends to continue its driving role in the development of the European online dating market. We will continue to establish our brands and our products across the various segments that now make up this market, whilst striving to imagine and develop new services and new applications that will create tomorrow’s opportunities.”