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YouGov 'cautiously optimistic' about annual results

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YouGov ‘cautiously optimistic’ on full-year earnings after strong half-year performance for UK polling firm

  • YouGov was co-founded by under-fire Conservative Party MP Nadhim Zahawi
  • The company said it expects to achieve annual revenue growth this fiscal year
  • First-half trading was supported by client spending on strategic market research

YouGov said it remained “cautiously optimistic” about its full-year outlook as the polling group revealed a strong first-half result.

The company, which was co-founded by chairman under fire from the conservative party Nadhim Zahawi, told investors on Friday that it expects to achieve annual revenue growth this fiscal year, in line with analysts’ forecasts.

Revenue increased across most countries and divisions in the six months to January 2023, driven primarily by customers spending money on strategic market research.

Trading in the US was supported by strong demand from sectors such as technology, while UK revenue was driven by a strong performance by trading teams in the face of elevated recessionary threats.

YouGov said its sales pipeline for the second half of the year “remains healthy” and is confident of further margin growth, even as it makes significant investments.

In recent years, the London-listed data provider has invested heavily in developing its technology, expanding into new markets and launching several new products, including the YouGov Safe data marketplace platform.

It also bought tech firm Rezonence, Australian consultancy Faster Horses and Istanbul-based research agency Wizsight.

The takeovers are part of a long-term strategy that includes goals to double sales and adjusted operating profit margin, and to achieve a compound annual growth rate of more than 30% in adjusted earnings per share until at the end of the current fiscal year.

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“Because of this resilient performance in the first half, we remain cautiously optimistic about the group’s outlook for FY23 and aim to maintain momentum as we approach the home stretch of our long-term strategic growth plan. current,” the company noted.

The pollster also revealed that Stephan Shakespeare, one of its two founders, is set to become chairman in early August, replacing media and technology investor Roger Parry.

Shakespeare founded the company with Zahawi, whose political career is on the line after he confessed to paying a settlement to HM Revenue and Customs for a stake in YouGov.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Education Secretary has come under scrutiny over a slice of shares in the market research firm that have been awarded to Balshore Investments, a trust based in Gibralter.

Zahawi denied being a beneficiary of Balshore, which would otherwise have made him liable for an estimated £3.7million tax charge when the trust sold its stake in YouGov for around £27million in 2018.

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Last week a spokesman for the MP for Stratford-upon-Avon said that “neither [Zahawi] nor his direct family are beneficiaries of Balshore Investments or any trust associated with it.

After closing at exactly £10 on Thursday, YouGov shares rose 5p on Friday afternoon, although their value has fallen around 23% in the past year.

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