Data-led progress

YouGov 8 October 2020 Update
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YouGov

Data-led progress

Full year results

Media

8 October 2020

Price

950p

Market cap

£1,030m

$1.30:£1

Net cash (£m) at end July 2020

35.3

Shares in issue

108.4m

Free float

91.3%

Code

YOU

Primary exchange

AIM

Secondary exchange

N/A

Share price performance

%

1m

3m

12m

Abs

4.6

23.2

79.7

Rel (local)

2.0

28.4

111.7

52-week high/low

998p

400p

Business description

YouGov is an international research data and analytics group, with over 11 million online panellists across 42 countries. It offers a complementary data-led suite of products and services including YouGov BrandIndex, YouGov Profiles, YouGov Omnibus, YouGov Direct and custom research.

Next events

AGM

10 December 2020

Analyst

Fiona Orford-Williams

+44 (0)20 3077 5739

YouGov is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Full year results were in line with the July trading update, a little ahead of our published estimates, with revenues up 12% and adjusted operating profit up 18%. Data Products (one-third of group revenue) performed particularly well, with underlying revenues up 21% and operating margin up 70bp to 35.0%. A strong balance sheet (net cash of £35.3m) supports stepped-up investment in both technology and in panel, underpinning the ambitious targets set out for the three remaining years of management’s five-year plan. The valuation remains at the high end of the range of peers.

Year end

Revenue (£m)

PBT*
(£m)

EPS*
(p)

DPS
(p)

EV/EBITDA (x)

P/E
(x)

Yield
(%)

07/19

136.5

20.4

13.8

4.0

29.2

68.8

0.4

07/20

152.4

24.7

15.7

5.0

24.7

60.5

0.5

07/21e

163.0

28.5

17.4

5.5

23.9

54.6

0.6

07/22e

175.0

34.2

21.2

6.5

20.6

44.8

0.7

Note: *PBT and EPS are normalised, excluding amortisation of acquired intangibles, exceptional items and share-based payments.

Seizing market opportunities

YouGov has seen no material impact from COVID-19, with any weakness from clients in the most affected verticals (such as retail) offset by additional work from governments, technology and healthcare clients. YouGov’s constantly refreshed online data has enabled it to service its clients without interruption and it has not needed to adapt its business model beyond a transition to home working. The US presidential election provides a clear opportunity to raise the group’s profile further and boost the commercial marketing of the YouGov brand. There is more to be done in growing the penetration of the group’s products and services within multinational customers and the introduction of key account management, and a sharpened, integrated sales and marketing effort should help progress here.

Investing to support growth

FY20 capital expenditure stepped up to £18.6m, from £12.2m in FY19, with £8.0m spent on technology (principally on survey systems and on upgrading the Crunch data analytics tool) and £8.9m on growing the panels across eight countries and establishing them in four more. This total spend was ahead of the £15.0m we previously modelled. We have also upped our FY21e capex to £18.0m from £16.5m as the group puts in the investment to support future growth. With £35.3m of cash on the balance sheet and no debt (bar lease liabilities), there is plenty of scope for this level of spend, plus an increase in the dividend to 5p (FY19: 4p). We have initiated FY22e forecasts, with a comparatively cautious 7% revenue increase.

Valuation: Premium price for strong positioning

The share price recovered the initial losses as the COVID-19 situation developed, and the stock remains one of only two of the global peers to have shown a positive performance over the year. YouGov’s valuation multiples are at the top end of this peer set, reflecting the group’s strong market positioning, attractive cash generation (104% conversion of adjusted EBITDA in FY20) and cash-positive balance sheet.

Forecasts edged ahead

Results were as flagged in the pre-close update, covered in our July update note. There were two divergences to note from our previous assumptions: higher share-based payments, which came in at £2.9m from the £1.3m we had modelled, and higher capex, referred to above. The former stems from a change in accounting treatment and indicates a more stable level across the life of FYP2, the current long-term strategic growth plan on which management incentives are based, as described in our Outlook report, also published in July. The previous scheme had a lighter charge earlier on, ramping up as it drew towards the end and the likelihood of hitting the targets increased.

As seen below, profits and earnings were pretty much in line with our modelling.

Exhibit 1: Summary financials

EPS (p)

PBT (£m)

Adjusted operating profit (£m)

Old

New

% chg.

Old

New

% chg.

Old

New

% chg.

2020

15.4

15.7

+2

23.1

24.7

+7

21.7

21.8

=

2021e

17.2

17.4

+1

26.9

28.5

+6

25.5

25.7

+1

2022e

-

21.2

N/A

-

34.2

N/A

-

31.4

N/A

Source: Company accounts, Edison Investment Research. Note: Adjusted to include amortisation and exclude separately reported items. Our normalised EPS are expressed after share-based payments.

Consequently, there is little change to our anticipated outturn for FY21e, although we caution that the continuing impact of the pandemic at the macro and the micro level may throw our underlying assumptions. Broadly, as explained above, the effect to date has been broadly neutral, as some sectors of the economy have flourished while others have struggled.

Prolonged suppression of the global consumer economy would obviously have a deleterious effect, partially offset by the growing importance of a data feedback loop to gauge consumer attitudes and behaviours, both for making commercial and civic judgements.

Our new FY22 forecasts therefore come with a greater degree of uncertainty than would be normal, reflected in an anticipated top-line growth of just over 7%, which would leave a lot of ground to be made up in the later periods of FYP2. We also anticipate steady improvements in adjusted operating margin, from the 14.3% achieved in FY20 to 15.8% in FY21e and on to 18.0% in FY22e. This reflects the improving operating leverage from the investment in the technology, with a growing degree of automation and in self-service through YouGov Direct (see Outlook note).

Management has recommended a 5p dividend, up from 4p for FY19, which we take to be a measure of its confidence in the group’s positioning and the well-funded balance sheet.

Segmental performance review

Data Products leads the way

Exhibit 2: Divisional contributions

FY20

Data Products

% change/FY19 margin

Data Services

% change/FY19 margin

Custom Research

% chg/FY19 margin

Central costs

% change

Total

% chg/FY19 margin

Revenue (£m)

51.3

+24

37.8

+2

64.6

+8

(1.3)

152.4

+12

Adjusted operating profit (£m)

18.0

+26

7.0

-6

12.6

-4

(15.7)

-3

21.8

+18

Adjusted operating margin (%)

35.0

34.3

18.4

20.0

19.5

21.9

14.3

13.5

Source: Company accounts

Data Products now accounts for around a third of group, with revenues up by 24% over the prior year, a slight slowing from the 29% progress at the half-year stage (implies +19% for H2). On an underlying basis, revenues grew 21%, with the additional boost from YouGov SportsIndex, which has quickly established a useful role in the segment. The boost to segmental operating margin reflects the scalability of its largely digital model for data collection and the delivery of syndicated products. The US market continues to be the largest geographical region, yet its growth at 26% outstripped those of other territories.

Data Services (25% group FY20 revenues) faced tough comparatives, with non-recurring election work in Asia Pacific during the previous year, limiting it to 2% growth (4% underlying). Segmental revenues are weighted to the UK market, which grew 7%, despite YouGov Omnibus already being the market leader. The operating margin, declining from 20.0% to 18.4%, was affected by two factors; the transfer in of relatively lower-margin work from the Custom Research segment in the Nordic region (highlighted in previous trading updates) and a larger proportion of overhead, previously allocated centrally.

Management’s intention is to drive a more concentrated sales effort. Although there clearly remains potential for further progress in the UK, the main opportunity is for stimulating demand in the US, leveraging the group’s existing relationships through the key account management. With greater use of the group’s Centers of Excellence in Romania and India, together with a faster growing top line, margins should be able to return to expansion.

Custom Research (42% group FY20 revenues) had results affected by the planned closure of a large contract in Kurdistan, originally planned to run through to FY21, which reduced revenues in the Middle East by £2.1m (30%). Underlying revenue progress, though, was impressive, at 12%, with a growing element of longitudinal tracking projects, indicated to be around 40% of the divisional revenues. The Kurdistan closure affected reported operating margin, accounting from the bulk of the reduction from 21.9% down to 19.5% margin, with the balance reflecting greater central overhead reallocation. As the business continues to shift more towards committed revenues and multi-territory projects, utilising data held within the YouGov Cube, the quality of divisional earnings is improving, and we expect the margins to recover.

Valuation

YouGov’s share price started the year at 643p, falling sharply to 400p at the onset of lockdowns and peak market uncertainty in March. Since that point, and as overall trading has proved to be little affected by COVID-19 (albeit that the mix has adjusted), confidence has rebuilt, and the share price has resumed its positive trajectory. The group trades at the high end of the range of the international peer set, as shown below.

Exhibit 3: Peer set valuations

Ytd perf (%)

Price

Market cap (m)

EV/Sales 1FY (x)

EV/EBITDA last (x)

EV/EBITDA 1FY (x)

EV/EBITDA 2FY (x)

P/E
last (x)

P/E
1FY (x)

P/E 2FY (x)

Div yield last (%)

EBITDA margin last (%)

Next Fifteen (GBP)

(6)

506

459

2.0

9.0

9.1

8.0

14.5

14.2

12.5

0.5

22.9

ComScore (US$)

(59)

2.04

145

0.9

49.9

10.6

8.4

0.0

1.6

IPSOS (€)

(25)

21.80

969

0.9

6.3

7.4

6.4

7.6

10.7

8.2

4.0

12.6

Forrester (US$)

(19)

33.62

635

1.6

11.0

13.2

11.6

20.4

25.8

19.1

0.0

13.4

Gartner (US$)

(19)

125.34

111,184

3.3

18.7

20.0

18.4

32.1

39.5

35.8

0.0

16.1

Nielsen (US$)

(30)

14.29

5,098

2.2

7.2

7.4

7.1

7.9

9.3

8.4

7.8

28.5

GlobalData (GBP)

20

1,550

1,825

10.7

43.0

36.0

32.6

53.7

54.7

48.2

1.0

25.0

WPP (GBP)

(41)

626

7,666

1.3

6.2

8.8

7.5

6.8

11.2

8.7

9.6

16.1

Average

(22)

2.8

18.9

14.1

12.5

20.4

23.6

20.1

2.9

17.0

YouGov (GBP)

40

905

981

5.8

23.5

22.8

19.5

57.7

52.2

42.6

0.6

25.7

Source: Refinitiv. Note: Prices as at 5 October 2020.

Exhibit 4: Financial summary

£'000s

2018

2019

2020

2021e

2022e

Year end 31 July

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

PROFIT & LOSS

Revenue

 

 

116,559

136,487

152,441

163,000

175,000

Cost of Sales

(21,495)

(24,206)

(23,375)

(24,604)

(26,103)

Gross Profit

95,064

112,281

129,067

138,396

148,897

EBITDA

 

 

20,907

31,698

39,215

41,322

47,697

Operating Profit (before amort. and except.)

 

 

12,650

18,492

21,830

25,740

31,415

Intangible Amortisation

(7,026)

(8,809)

(12,885)

(10,782)

(10,782)

Share based payments

(3,571)

(2,401)

(2,900)

(2,900)

(2,900)

Exceptionals

(892)

1,529

(6,630)

0

0

Other

66

200

0

0

0

Operating Profit

11,824

20,221

15,200

25,740

31,415

Net Interest

(51)

(665)

7

(175)

(150)

Profit Before Tax (norm)

 

 

16,302

20,428

24,737

28,465

34,165

Profit Before Tax (IFRS16)

 

 

11,773

19,356

15,207

25,565

31,265

Tax

(3,615)

(5,086)

(5,812)

(9,771)

(11,949)

Profit After Tax (norm)

12,687

15,342

18,925

18,694

22,216

Profit After Tax (IFRS16)

8,158

14,270

9,395

15,794

19,316

Average Number of Shares Outstanding (m)

105.4

105.4

106.7

108.4

108.4

EPS - normalised (p)

 

 

10.8

13.8

15.7

17.4

21.2

EPS - IFRS 16 (p)

 

 

7.7

14.1

9.0

14.6

17.8

Dividend per share (p)

3.0

4.0

5.0

5.5

6.5

Gross Margin (%)

81.6

82.3

84.7

84.9

85.1

EBITDA Margin (%)

17.9

23.2

25.7

25.4

27.3

Operating Margin (before GW and except) (%)

10.9

13.5

14.3

15.8

18.0

BALANCE SHEET

Fixed Assets

 

 

78,019

108,534

108,122

106,068

105,286

Intangible Assets

65,357

82,374

84,611

83,829

83,047

Tangible Assets

12,471

26,160

23,511

22,239

22,239

Investments

191

0

0

0

0

Current Assets

 

 

66,735

72,581

70,255

77,891

89,536

Stocks

0

0

0

0

0

Debtors

34,672

33,726

34,239

36,611

39,306

Cash

30,621

37,925

35,309

40,574

49,524

Current Liabilities

 

 

(41,445)

(51,395)

(52,813)

(55,070)

(55,080)

Creditors

(41,445)

(51,395)

(52,813)

(55,070)

(55,080)

Short term borrowings

0

0

0

0

0

Long Term Liabilities

 

 

(11,238)

(22,277)

(16,226)

(13,206)

(13,206)

Long term borrowings

0

0

0

0

0

Other long-term liabilities

(11,238)

(22,277)

(16,226)

(13,206)

(13,206)

Net Assets

 

 

92,071

107,443

109,338

115,683

126,537

CASH FLOW

Operating Cash Flow

 

 

23,617

38,115

38,411

41,615

48,031

Net Interest

22

183

(7)

175

150

Tax

(5,501)

(4,520)

(3,184)

(7,328)

(11,949)

Capex

(8,181)

(12,166)

(18,559)

(18,000)

(16,000)

Acquisitions/disposals

(885)

(6,583)

(7,451)

(3,428)

(3,020)

Financing

259

(3,652)

(4,739)

(2,000)

(2,000)

Dividends

(2,106)

(3,327)

(4,298)

(5,420)

(5,962)

Net Cash Flow

7,225

8,050

173

5,615

9,250

Opening net debt/(cash)

 

 

(23,219)

(30,621)

(37,925)

(35,309)

(40,574)

HP finance leases initiated

0

0

0

0

0

Other

177

(747)

(2,789)

(350)

(300)

Closing net debt/(cash)

 

 

(30,621)

(37,925)

(35,309)

(40,574)

(49,524)

Source: Company accounts, Edison Investment Research. Note: FY19 amounts have been restated.


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This report has been commissioned by YouGov and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by YouGov. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £49,500 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2020 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

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General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by YouGov and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by YouGov. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £49,500 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2020 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

This Communication is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced by, further distributed to or published in whole or in part by, any other person.

United States

Edison relies upon the "publishers' exclusion" from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and corresponding state securities laws. This report is a bona fide publication of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. As such, Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and the research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in this report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

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United Kingdom

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Frankfurt +49 (0)69 78 8076 960

Schumannstrasse 34b

60325 Frankfurt

Germany

London +44 (0)20 3077 5700

280 High Holborn

London, WC1V 7EE

United Kingdom

New York +1 646 653 7026

1185 Avenue of the Americas

3rd Floor, New York, NY 10036

United States of America

Sydney +61 (0)2 8249 8342

Level 4, Office 1205

95 Pitt Street, Sydney

NSW 2000, Australia

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