GfK achieved sales increase of 6.2% in 2011 based on preliminary figures

(PresseBox) (Nürnberg, ) .
- Annual sales up 6.2% on the previous year to around EUR 1,374 million (previous year: EUR 1,294.2 million)

- Increase in adjusted operating income for the full year of 1.8% expected to approximately EUR 188 million (previous year: EUR 185.0 million)

- Non-recurring factors adversely affected operating income, reducing it by EUR 11.4 million in total

In financial year 2011, the GfK Group achieved an increase in sales and income. Based on the preliminary figures, sales were up by 6.2% to around EUR 1,374 million in financial year 2011. Adjusted operating income rose 1.8% to approximately EUR 188 million, with a margin of 13.7%.

Based on the preliminary figures, the Company achieved sales of around EUR 1,374 million after EUR 1,294.2 million in the previous year. This increase of 6.2% was largely attributable to organic growth of 5.8%. Acquisitions made a positive contribution of 1.2 percentage points in financial year 2011, whereas currency effects slightly reduced sales by 0.8 percentage points.

Adjusted operating income rose slightly by 1.8% to around EUR 188 million (previous year: EUR 185.0 million). In organic terms, income growth amounted to 2.9%. At the same time, acquisitions and currency effects both produced a slightly negative effect.

The margin on adjusted operating income stood at 13.7% and was thus below the previous year's level of 14.3%. The following non-recurring factors were responsible for this development:

- Write-down following an impairment test of software already in use to measure TV ratings (Media sector) of EUR 5.3 million. As at the third quarter, an amount of EUR 4.5 million was already written down, as was previously reported. The EUR 0.8 million higher write-down in the fourth quarter of 2011 resulted from updated capital market data, with all other assumptions remaining unchanged on the third quarter of 2011.

- Write-down of EUR 1.6 million on a software which will no longer be used in future as software applications in the Custom Research sector are being standardized as part of the Own the Future strategy.

- Other expenses relating to the Own the Future corporate strategy arose since the third quarter now totaling EUR 2.7 million, which were mainly incurred for consulting services.

- Expenses in connection with the appointment of the new CEO amounting to EUR 1.8 million, reported under operating income (this was already reported in the third quarter of 2011).

Adjusted for these non-recurring factors of EUR 11.4 million in total, adjusted operating income would have amounted to around EUR 199 million, which would correspond to a margin of 14.4%.

Organic sales growth in all three sectors

All three sectors contributed to sales growth in organic terms. At 9.8% overall growth, the Retail and Technology sector once again recorded the fastest growth. The Custom Research sector also achieved a pleasing increase in sales of 5.6%. Sales in the Media sector remained essentially unchanged at -0.2%.

Sales in the Other division amounted to approximately EUR 5 million in the reporting period (2010: EUR 4.7 million).

Regional sales growth

The GfK Group's network of subsidiaries covers over 100 countries worldwide. In geographic terms, the business is divided into six regions: Germany, Western Europe/Middle East/Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, Latin America as well as Asia and the Pacific.

Growth in 2011 was particularly dynamic in Asia and the Pacific. In addition to 8.3% growth in organic terms, acquisitions boosted the region's sales by an additional 2.6 percentage points. Central and Eastern Europe also recorded pleasing growth of 12.8% in organic terms, although currency effects reduced the figure by 4.0 percentage points . In Germany, sales growth of 7.8% in organic terms was increased by a further 2.7 percentage points through acquisitions. The only region to record a decline in sales was North America. In organic terms, sales in this region decreased by 4.9% in the year as a whole, with currency effects reducing sales by a further 5.3 percentage points.

Own the Future - new corporate strategy

Since January 1, 2012, GfK has been working under its new corporate strategy - Own the Future. As part of this strategy, GfK makes targeted investments in globally consistent products and solutions to key issues in its clients' businesses.

In the process of implementing the new strategy, GfK has reorganized its sectors. Business will be divided into the two sectors Consumer Choices and Consumer Experiences in future. The Consumer Choices sector comprises what was the Retail and Technology sector to date as well as the major share of the previous Media sector in the Audience Measurement department. Consumer Experiences, the second sector, essentially encompasses the former Custom Research sector and the Ad hoc work of the former Media sector. GfK will switch to this new structure in its financial reporting on the first quarter of 2012.

Accounts press conference and full annual financial statements

GfK will publish the complete annual financial statements and outlook for 2012 on March 12, 2012 at 10 a.m. as part of its Annual Accounts Press Conference in Nuremberg. From 3 p.m. onwards, GfK will present its financial statements at an Analysts' Meeting in Frankfurt/Main.

Provisional key dates in the financial calendar

March 12, 2012 Annual Accounts Press Conference, Nuremberg
March 12, 2012 Analysts' Meeting, Frankfurt/Main
May 15, 2012 Quarterly report as at March 31
May 16, 2012 Annual General Meeting, Fürth
August 14, 2012 Interim report as at June 30
November 14, 2012 Quarterly report as at September 30

Disclaimer

This information is not intended for publication or distribution in the United States of America.

This publication does not constitute an invitation to buy securities in the United States of America. GfK SE securities may not be offered or sold in the United States of America without registration or the relevant exemption from the duty of registration pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933 in its valid version.

This press release contains future statements. Future statements are statements that do not describe events of the past. They also comprise statements regarding our assumptions and expectations. Each statement in this press release that reflects any intentions, assumptions, expectations or forecasts by us (and any underlying assumptions) is a statement on the future. These statements are based on forecasts, estimates and predictions currently available to the management of the GfK Group. Future statements relate therefore only to the date on which such statements are made. We assume no liability to update such statements on the basis of new information or future events.

GfK

GfK is one of the world's largest research companies, with 11,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2010, GfK's sales amounted to EUR 1.29 billion.

To find out more, visit www.gfk.com or follow GfK on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gfk_group

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