MARKET REPORT: Moneysupermarket soars after announcing mortgage website


Online price comparison site Money Supermarket had more to reveal yesterday than the scantily clad city workers on its ‘Epic Strut’ TV adverts.

The firm announced that it was launching a new mortgage comparison website, called Podium, in collaboration with two tech entrepreneurs who built comparison engines for loans and credit cards still used by the site.

Though a number of start-ups have already been trying to crack the digitisation of the mortgage market, £1.7billion Money Supermarket muscling in on the action marks the biggest move so far.

Managing director Andy Hancock said: ‘The goal is an easy-to-use comparison service which at the touch of a button on a mobile phone will empower consumers with the information and knowledge they need to do a fairer comparison of mortgages.’

Money Supermarket has announced that it was launching a new mortgage comparison website which sent shares up 6.2%

Money Supermarket has announced that it was launching a new mortgage comparison website which sent shares up 6.2%

Money Supermarket has announced that it was launching a new mortgage comparison website which sent shares up 6.2%

Investors seemed to think the idea was ‘epic’, as shares climbed 6.2 per cent, or 19.1p, to 328.4p.

Money Supermarket will own 50 per cent of the venture, while entrepreneurs Matt Denman and Mark Hawkins will hold the other half.

Money Supermarket has had a mortgage comparison section for some time, pulling in 16m people or 25 per cent of all mortgage search traffic per year, but it said Podium would work in a different way.

While the current site refers customers to a broker soon after they begin a comparison, Podium lets them complete the whole decision-making process online.

Money Supermarket also reported revenue growth of 5per cent for the first six months of the year and a rise in operating profit of 7 per cent.

Stock Watch-Dotdigital

Automated email firm Dotdigital soared as revenue rocketed 35 per cent to £43.1million in the first six months of the year.

The company, which helps businesses with marketing, said operating profit would be in line with expectations but its cash balance was ‘significantly ahead’ at £15.1million.

Investors were also relieved that the business had seen no material negative impact from new data protection rules, known as GDPR.

Its shares ended the day up 20.6 per cent, or 15p, at 88p.

Elsewhere in the FTSE 250, engineer Babcock was suffering due to delayed Government spending on submarine projects.

The defence, emergency services and nuclear specialist sank by 8.8 per cent, or 70.4p, to 732.6p as it announced that although profit expectations were unchanged, revenue would be £120million lower than expected for the year.

It blamed £70million of this on the restructuring of the Government’s defence equipment and support organisation, which manages the purchase of equipment and services for the Armed Forces.

Babcock said the new Submarine Delivery Agency had spread out its spending on projects, including the Dreadnought submarine facilities, a successor to Trident, which meant cash would be coming in later than planned.

Another outsourcing firm, Capita, was trying to take the initiative as it announced a £30million five-year contract with Southern Water.

It already provides Southern with front-office services such as sales personnel, but it will now be in charge of billing and handling correspondence. 

But after losing its finance director and becoming embroiled in a school pupil information mix-up scandal this week, the announcement did not quite have the effect Capita might have hoped for, and shares were down 0.2 per cent, or 0.25p, to 163.7p.

The FTSE 100 ended the day fractionally higher, up 0.1 per cent, or 7.69 points, at 7683.97 as a weaker sterling from poor retail sales helped boost the companies with international exposure, such as Unilever and Royal Dutch Shell.

Miner Anglo American was the biggest loser on the blue-chip index, as it released second-quarter production statistics and shares fell 4.1 per cent, or 69p, to 1622p.

On the junior market in London, marketing group Be Heard caused a stir in the wrong way, plunging 38.2 per cent, or 0.72p, to 1.18p as it lowered its earnings guidance due to increased costs.

Although it had won major contracts with Aviva, Glaxosmithkline and Equifax in the first half of the year, it said it would have to increase investment to be able to meet these deals.



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