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GfK achieved moderate organic growth of 0.9 percent in the first quarter of the year and considerably improved both its income and the margin. Adjusted operating income was up 17.6 percent. The margin increased by 1.4 percentage points to 8.9 percent. GfK’s Chief Executive Officer Matthias Hartmann: “We are satisfied with the first quarter overall, particularly since we achieved strong growth in the Consumer Choices sector and improved the margin of the Group. Through the acquisition of Netquest, we enhance our position in digital panels and our business in Latin America, and we broaden our data assets.”
In the first three months of the year, Group sales totaled €360.5 million. Organic growth amounted to 0.9 percent. Currency effects led to a slight overall decline in sales of 0.6 percent when compared with the first quarter of the previous year.
Adjusted operating income increased to €32.1 million in the first three months of the year. This equates to an improvement of 17.6 percent on the previous year's figure. The GfK Group’s margin rose by 1.4 percentage points to 8.9 percent.
The high-margin Consumer Choices sector recorded organic growth of 9.8 percent. Despite negative currency effects, strong overall growth of 8.1 percent was achieved. Sales in the first three months amounted to €169.9 million. The media measurement contract in Brazil has not yet made a positive contribution to income. As a result, the sector's margin declined to 16.2 percent (same period of previous year: 17.3 percent).
The transformation of the Consumer Experiences sector is continuing. In the first three months, this sector generated sales of €190.5 million (in organic terms, this is 6.0 percent lower than in the same period of the previous year). Strong currency effects further impacted sales, contributing towards an overall decline of 6.9 percent. The margin improved markedly to 4.0 percent (same period of the previous year: 3.0 percent). The share of incoming orders attributable to globally standardized products increased to total 46 percent.
With regard to the regions, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and Central Eastern Europe/META all achieved organic growth. Sales declined in North America, as well as in Northern and Southern and Western Europe.
By acquiring Netquest, GfK drives its digitization strategy and the expansion of its data assets. Netquest is a leading provider of high-quality, cross-device digital panels and behavioral data, and was acquired in February.
The Group anticipates modest organic growth in 2016, higher than in the previous year, and expects to outperform the market research sector. The margin should increase considerably.
The full report for the first quarter of 2016 is available on GfK’s Investor Relations website:
Provisional financial calendar 2016
May 20, 2016: Annual General Assembly
August 12, 2016: Half-year report as at 30 June 2016
November 14, 2016: Nine-month report as at 30 September 2016
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