ADVERTISEMENT
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Globe Newswire
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

An exceptional performance in an exceptional period

July 21, 2021 GMT

H1 revenue: €993.3m +26.4%
Organic growth over the half: +31.5%

Paris, July 21, 2021 - Ipsos’ revenue for the first half of 2021 was €993.3m, up 26.4% compared to the same period in 2020.

At constant scope and exchange rates, the growth in activity is even stronger at 31.5%. Scope effects are almost negligible at 0.3%, while currency effects reduce revenue by 5.4%. For the second quarter alone, the growth rates are 47.5% in real terms and 52.3% in organic terms after taking into account negative currency effects of -5.1% and positive scope effects of 0.3%.

Ipsos’ excellent performance is the result of a combination of two factors.
On the one hand, activity in the first half of 2021 is compared to the same period in 2020, which was in sharp decline due to the lockdown implemented by the health authorities in many markets from February to May. The generalization of lockdowns had led to a sudden and unprecedented reduction in activity, at constant scope and exchange rates, of 13% for the half-year and 26% for the second quarter from 2020.
On the other hand, the business is inherently strong. Here, the comparison to 2019 takes on its significance. Ipsos’ organic growth rate is 13.9% when the first half of 2019 is used as a basis for comparison. This performance is equivalent to that of the first quarter.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ipsos’ activity has thus passed the 2020 low point. It is in line with the progress expected from the new organization put in place in the summer 2018. Its objective was to put the information needs of Ipsos’ corporate and institutional customers at the heart of our company’s strategy. We offered them the opportunity to better understand Society, markets and people. To achieve this, a specific organization within Ipsos has been dedicated to maintaining close links between the company and its clients and also to favoring many new, accessible and modern solutions that enable all kinds of data to be captured, integrated and analyzed. The term “Total Understanding” has been used for the past three years to describe this organization.

IPSOS PERFORMANCE IN 2019, 2020 AND 2021

ADVERTISEMENT
In millions
of Euros
Revenue
2021
H1 2021 vs H1 2020 H1 2021 vs H1 2019
Total
growth
Organic
growth
Total
growth
Organic
growth
1st quarter 466.3 8.8% 14.1% 10.5% 14.1%
2nd quarter 527.0 47.5% 52.3% 9.5% 13.6%
Total for the half year 993.3 26.4% 31.5% 10.0% 13.9%


PERFORMANCE BY REGION

In millions of Euros H1 2021 Contribution Total growth
H1 2021/ H1 2020
Organic growth
H1 2021/ H1 2020
Reminder of organic growth
Q1 2021/ Q1 2020
EMEA 491.7 49% 36.9% 39% 28%
Americas 337.6 34% 17.0% 27% 0.5%
Asia-Pacific 164.0 17% 18.5% 22% 9%
Revenue 993.3 100% 26.4% 31.5% 14.1%

Naturally, this very strong growth is found in all regions, even if the EMEA zone continues to record the best performance thanks to the existence of contracts signed in several European countries at the request of public health authorities.
The Americas - North and South - are recovering well. The Asia-Pacific region, which had a poor start to 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic appeared in China and then in neighboring countries earlier than elsewhere, has been in better shape since the spring. However, it remains the part of the world where Ipsos’ activity is barely greater than in 2019. It declined by 19% organically in the first half of 2020, compared to 9.5% for the EMEA and 15.5% for the Americas. It has grown by 22% in 2021, while EMEA and the Americas grew by 39% and 27% respectively. The average for Asia conceals significant disparities from one country to another. China has regained good growth while other markets, including Japan, are lagging behind.

PERFORMANCE BY AUDIENCE

In millions of Euros H1 2021 Contribution Total growth
H1 2021/ H1 2020
Organic growth
H1 2021/ H1 2020
Reminder
Organic growth
Q1 2021/ Q1 2020
Consumers1 431.2 43% 28.2% 35% 12%
Customers and employees2 198.4 20% 10.0% 14% -11.5%
Citizens3 197.7 20% 38.1% 41% 49%
Doctors and patients4 166.0 17% 31.6% 37% 27.5%
Revenue 993.3 100% 26.4% 31.5% 14.1%

Breakdown of Service Lines by audience segment:
1- Brand Health Tracking, Creative Excellence, Innovation, Ipsos UU, Ipsos MMA, Market Strategy & Understanding, Observer (excl. public sector), Social Intelligence Analytics
2- Automotive & Mobility Development, Audience Measurement, Customer Experience, Channel Performance (including Retail Performance and Mystery Shopping), Media development, Capabilities
3- Public Affairs, Corporate Reputation
4- Pharma (quantitative and qualitative)

The performance of the various audiences is also becoming more balanced, even though interventions in the field of social research and public opinion - i.e. work with people defined as “citizens” - are still the fastest growing, with an organic growth rate of 41% over the half-year, compared to an average rate of 31.5% for all audiences combined.

In fact, the hierarchy between the audiences has remained the same for several quarters: the social search segment is evolving most favorably, while the “customers” segment is the least dynamic. These performances reflect the varying effects of the pandemic on different sectors of activity. Everything relating to public health is at the heart of the considerable need for new information, even if contracts specifically linked to measuring the Covid-19 pandemic are to end. Everything that concerns people positioned as “customers” is affected by the great difficulties in certain sectors linked to mobility, tourism and leisure. The good news in the second quarter is that the gaps are narrowing, foreshadowing a better balance of opportunities in the future.

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

Summary income statement

In millions of Euros June 30, 2021 June 30, 2020 Change Reminder
Dec 31, 2020
Revenue 993.3 786.0 26.4% 1 837.4
Gross margin 642.8 512.0 25.5% 1 180.5
Gross margin / Revenue 64.7% 65.1% - 64.2%
Operating margin 109.0 25.0 336% 189.9
Operating margin / Revenue 11.0% 3.2% - 10.3%
Other non-operating / non-recurring income and expenses 0.6 (7.1) - (6.1)
Finance costs (7.0) (11.6) -39.5% (20.6)
Income tax (23.2) 0.2 - (38.9)
Net profit attributable to the owner of the parent 72.0 1.3 - 109.5
Adjusted net profit attributable to the owner of the parent* 81.4 12.8 - 129.6

*Adjusted net profit is calculated before (i) non-cash items covered by IFRS 2 (share-based payments), (ii) amortization of intangible assets identified on acquisitions (client relationships), (iii) the net tax effect of other non-operating income and expenses, (iv) the non-cash effect on changes in puts in other financial income and expenses and (v) deferred tax liabilities from goodwill, which in some countries can be amortized.

Income statement

Overall, The Group’s profitability in H1 2021 is significantly higher than in the same period last year, with a record operating margin of 11% compared to a particularly low margin of 3.2% in H1 2020.

Last year, H1 profitability was hit by the sudden drop in activity from mid-March due to the pandemic. The suddenness of the fall did not allow us to reduce our costs to the same extent in the first half of the year because they were partly fixed and were in line with the initial growth forecast for 2020.

The various cost-saving measures put in place in 2020 meant that it was possible to make up for this shortfall in H2. The company had implemented a plan to reduce costs by €113 million over full-year 2020 compared to 2019. These savings primarily stemmed from payroll costs (€43 million), government subsidies (€29 million) and overheads (€41 million). Of these savings, around €20 million is expected to be repeated in 2021.

The gross margin (calculated by deducting external and variable direct costs associated with contract performance from revenue) rose slightly to 64.7% from 64.2% in full-year 2020 and 65.1% in H1 2020.
The gross margin ratio is tied to the mix of data collection modes, seeing as certain face-to-face surveys (which have a lower gross margin), which were on hold during the first lockdown, have been replaced in certain instances by higher margin online surveys. That said, the largest contracts to track the development of the pandemic were carried out face-to-face by the “Public Affairs” teams in a certain number of countries. Overall in 2020 and in H1 2021, online surveys accounted for 60% of business compared with 55% in 2019.

In terms of operating costs, payroll costs rose 7.5%, due to of the end of the various salary reduction arrangements that were in place in 2020 (temporary voluntary salary reductions agreed by various employees of between 10% and 20% for executives; shorter working hours; unpaid leave…). Conversely, for the first half of 2021, payroll costs included salary increases that were effective on May 1, 2021 and provisions for bonuses.

That said, payroll costs rose at a much slower pace than the 25.5% increase in gross margin, making it the main driver in improving profitability. This was due to the slower growth in new hires relative to the business: there were 17,166 permanent employees at June 30, 2021 compared with 16,644 at end-December 2020 and 17,730 at June 30, 2020.

The cost of variable share-based compensation rose to €5.9 million from €3.4 million in 2020. This was because the extension of the vesting period of the bonus share plans from 2 to 3 years, which was approved in 2018, had the effect of extending the spread of the IFRS 2 expense and reducing it over the 2018-2020 period.

Overheads are under control and decreased in total by approximately €8.2 million compared to H1 2020, thanks to the limitation of certain discretionary spending and, in particular, the cessation of almost all travel from early March 2020 to the present date totaling €4 million and savings on office use, which began in H2 2020 and continue in 2021, totaling €4 million.

Other operating income and expenses were minus €4.4 million compared with plus €17.6 million in H1 2020. This consists of severance costs whereas in 2020, the company had received subsidies under the furlough schemes put in place in some twenty countries worldwide, from which the company no longer benefits.

Within the operating margin, the amortization of intangible assets related to acquisitions concerns the portion of goodwill allocated to client relationships in the 12 months following the date of acquisition and subject to amortization in the income statement under IFRS over several years. This amounted to €2.5 million compared with €2.7 million the previous year.

Other non-operating and non-recurring income and expenses amounted to
€0.7 million versus -€7 million last year. On the income side, the largest item was €3 million stemming from the decision to capitalize internal development costs as from January 2018 (the net proceeds were €4.9 million in 2020). It should be noted that this wholly accounting transaction will reduce annually up to end-2022.
On the expense side, the largest items are restructuring and streamlining costs, which were particularly high in H1 2020 (12 million) and €3.8 million this half.

Financing expenses. Net interest expenses stood at €7.0 million compared with €11.6 million, due not only to a significant decrease in financial debt in connection with strong cash generation but also the repayment at end of September of a tranche of a “USPP” corporate bond for USD 185 million, which carried a coupon of 5% and was replaced by financing at lower rates.

Taxes. The effective tax rate in the IFRS income statement is 24.1% compared with 25.4% last year. This includes a deferred tax liability expense of €3.7 million, which offset the tax savings achieved due to the tax deductibility of the amortization of goodwill in certain countries, even though this deferred tax expense would only be payable in the event of the disposal of the activities in question (and which is accordingly adjusted in adjusted net profit).

Net profit, attributable to the owners of the parent, amounted to €71 million compared with €1.3 million in H1 2020.

Adjusted net profit, attributable to the owners of the parent, which is the relevant and constant indicator used to measure performance, rose sharply to €81.4 million from €12.8 million in H1 2020.

Financial structure

Cash flow. Gross cash flow from operating activities amounted to €150.1 million compared with €58.7 million in H1 2020.
Working capital saw a positive change of €32 million at June 30, 2021 but trade receivables are expected to increase in H2 due to the upswing in activity.
Current investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets consisted mainly of IT investments and totaled €19.1 million in H1 compared with €20.4 million in H1 2020.

Overall, free cash flow from operating activities, at €93 million, was in line with forecasts for the year.

As regards non-current investments, Ipsos invested around €10 million, including three acquisitions in the technology space since January 1, 2021: FistNet – DotMetrics (specialized in digital traffic measurement), MGE Data (specialized in GPS tracking and outdoor measurement), Intrasonics (specialized in audio recognition on mobiles).

Equity stood at €1,195 million at June 30, 2021 compared with €1,055 million reported at December 31, 2020.

Net financial debt amounted at €272 million, down from €347 million at December 31, 2020. The net debt ratio dropped to 22.7% from 30.9% at December 31, 2020. The leverage ratio (calculated excluding the impact of IFRS 16) stood at 0.8 times EBITDA (compared with 1.6 times at December 31, 2020).

Cash position. Closing cash and cash equivalents stood at €301 million at June 30, 2021 compared with €165.4 million at December 31, 2020, providing Ipsos with a strong cash position.

The Group also has close to €500 million in credit lines available for more than one year, allowing it to meet its €165 million in debt repayments in 2021.

OUTLOOK 2021

The health crisis is not over. Every day brings good news - things are better in India - as well as discouraging news - Europe is threatened by new Covid-19 variants. The experience of the last eighteen months is useful, teaching us that Ipsos’ activity is not really affected by the virulence of the epidemic but rather by the constraints brought about by the strict lockdowns. An epidemic wave without lockdown does not reduce requests for information and therefore the activity of our teams. In addition, new methods that favor solutions that avoid physical contact between people have been developed and deployed in many markets, making our business more resilient. Conversely, severe lockdown paralyzes markets and individuals and renders irrelevant many research programs that implicitly or explicitly made sense in a “normal” environment.

Vaccination is the solution. We are still several months away from the effective and massive implementation of vaccination campaigns in all countries, including in the least economically developed regions.
The outlook for 2021 and 2022 is therefore difficult to define. Several factors are nevertheless known, most of which point to a future improvement in the health situation, even if it will not be linear:

  • Vaccination is the solution.
  • The vaccines already developed are effective and their successors will be more so.
  • Economic activity is degraded but not interrupted by the pandemic. In fact, it is currently experiencing a real upturn.
  • Business demand is little affected, except for those in sectors directly affected by changes in customer behavior or physical constraints.

Since June 2020, Ipsos’ level of activity has been good. Since January of this year, the volume of work is well above that of 2019 and 2020. At the same time, in contrast to what we saw in 2020, orders are turning into sales very quickly. In the first half of 2020, compared to 2019, the order book was down by 10% at constant scope and exchange rates, and revenue was down by 13%. This year, Ipsos’ order book, again compared to the same period in 2019, has grown by 9.8% while revenue has increased by 13.9%. With the persistence of the health risks, we anticipate a single-digit organic growth rate for the period from July to December. For the year as a whole, Ipsos’ organic growth is likely to be well over 10% if we compare it to 2020 and not far from 10% if 2019 is used as a benchmark.

The operating margin is expected to be similar for both halves.

A WORD FROM DIDIER TRUCHOT, FOUNDER AND CEO OF IPSOS

I have taken great pleasure in sharing with you information about Ipsos and its market and in seeking, without hiding I believe, to tell you about the passion I feel for this very fine profession that I have practiced for over 50 years. Our ambition, I almost wrote our vocation or mission, is to provide to commercial companies and public or non-governmental institutions, all the information they need in their decision-making. We strive to make this information reliable, accessible, useful, because it is usable.

I founded this company with two partners in October 1975 for this purpose. I am pleased to have led tens of thousands of professionals over the years who share this goal. I may have been wrong at times, of course. But I never thought that our industry and, within it, Ipsos, would lose its relevance and appeal. The development of behavioral and analytical sciences and the ever-growing presence of technology are helping us and will help us in the coming years to do our job even better.

Ipsos’s current results are proof that the project we formulated 46 years ago in Paris remains valid today. The arrival of Nathalie Roos in our ranks as Chief Executive Officer is another. Nathalie is an expert business Director with a passion for the world and people. She is, I am sure, an excellent choice to take over from me and accelerate the transformations of Ipsos that began in 2018.
I am delighted that the Board of Directors and I have chosen her. I would like to thank her for choosing Ipsos out of many other opportunities.

* * *

Presentation of the half-year results 2021: Thursday July 22
at 8.30 a.m. via live webcast in English or French, followed by a conference call in English at 4 p.m. For invitation requests, please contact IpsosCommunications@Ipsos.com. The live stream and replay of the webcast will be available on our website in English and French


ABOUT IPSOS

Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 17,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 solutions are based on primary data from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques.

Our tagline “Game Changers” sums up our ambition to help our 5,000 customers move confidently through a rapidly changing world.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has been listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and Mid-60 indices and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD). ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP
www.ipsos.com

Appendix

Consolidated income statement
Half-yearly financial statements at June 30, 2021

In thousands of euros 06/30/2021 06/30/2020 12/31/2020
Revenue 993,317 785,993 1,837,424
Direct costs (350,502) (273,947) (656,902)
Gross margin 642,815 512,045 1,180,522
Employee benefit expenses – excluding share-based payments (440,460) (409,917) (824,709)
Employee benefit expenses - share based payments * (5,885) (3,397) (8,730)
General operating expenses (83,034) (91,324) (173,639)
Other operating income and expenses (4,447) 17,642 16,408
Operating margin 108,988 25,049 189,852
Amortization of intangible assets identified on acquisitions * (2,531) (2,715) (5,409)
Other non-operating income and expenses* 671 (7,085) (6,153)
Share of profit/(loss) of associates (327) (378) (711)
Operating profit 106,801 14,872 177,579
Finance costs (7,008) (11,582) (20,576)
Other financial income and expenses* (3,724) (3,908) (8,131)
Net profit before tax 96,069 (618) 148,872
Income tax – excluding deferred tax on goodwill amortization (21,531) 621 (35,462)
Deferred tax on goodwill amortization* (1,641) (464) (3,457)
Income tax (23,172) 157 (38,919)
Net profit 72,897 (461) 109,953
Attributable to the owners of the parent 71,987 1,276 109,498
Attributable to non-controlling interests 910 (1,737) 455
Basic net profit per share attributable to the owners of the parent (in euros) 1.63 0,03 2.49
Diluted net profit per share attributable to the owners of the parent (in euros) 1.59 0,03 2.43
Adjusted net profit* 82,143 11,208 130,166
Attributable to the owners of the parent 81,404 12,776    129,612
Attributable to non-controlling interests 740 (1,568) 554
Adjusted net profit per share, attributable to the owners of the parent 1.84 0,29 2,94
Adjusted diluted net profit per share, attributable to the owners of the parent 1.80 0,28 2,88

* Adjusted for non-cash items related to IFRS 2 (share-based compensation), amortization of intangible assets identified on acquisitions (client relationships), deferred tax liabilities related to goodwill for which amortization is deductible in some countries, the impact net of tax of other non-operating income and expenses and the non-cash impact of changes in puts in other financial income and expenses.  

Statement of financial position
Half-yearly financial statements at June 30, 2021

In thousands of euros 06/30/2021 06/30/2020 12/31/2020
ASSETS      
Goodwill 1,296,426 1,300,932 1,249,331
Right-of-use assets 121,191 141,614 125,270
Other intangible assets 96,119 90,256 88,849
Property, plant and equipment 28,282 35,977 30,953
Investments in associates 2,686 1,788 1,856
Other non-current financial assets 54,023 46,200 51,139
Deferred tax assets 15,678 36,630 28,839
Non-current assets 1,614,404 1,653,398 1,576,238
Trade receivables 358,673 292,116 456,113
Contract assets 184,041 169,936 136,365
Current tax 39,842 15,450 12,511
Other current assets 73,928 98,624 76,089
Financial derivatives (1,287) 368 404
Cash and cash equivalents 301,041 306,885 215,951
Current assets 956,238 883,380 897,433
TOTAL ASSETS 2,570,642 2,536,778 2,473,670
       
In thousands of euros 06/30/2021 06/30/2020 12/31/2020
LIABILITIES      
Share capital 11,109 11,109 11,109
Share paid-in capital 514,068 515,873 515,854
Treasury shares (445) (10,342) (9,738)
Translation adjustments (149,133) (136,277) (185,192)
Other reserves 728,997 655,715 662,277
Net profit, attributable to the owners of the parent 71,987 1,276 109,498
Equity, attributable to the owners of the parent 1,176,583 1,037,354 1,103,809
Non-controlling interests 19,246 18,278 18,157
Equity 1,195,829 1,055,631 1,121,966
Borrowings and other non-current financial liabilities 396,093 562,388 393,654
Non-current lease liabilities 101,056 122,311 107,250
Non-current provisions 2,143 783 1,743
Provisions for retirement benefit obligations 33,631 34,102 32,862
Deferred tax liabilities 78,272 70,384 60,503
Other non-current liabilities 26,318 21,233 23,660
Non-current liabilities 637,515 811,201 619,673
Trade payables 272,542 232,973 292,382
Borrowings and other current financial liabilities 175,407 185,851 169,250
Current lease liabilities 36,360 39,977 36,913
Current tax 4,470 9,456 22,239
Current provisions 7,651 7,553 7,073
Contract liabilities 40,049 36,317 39,513
Other current liabilities 200,819 157,819 164,661
Current liabilities 737,298 669,946 732,031
TOTAL LIABILITIES 2,570,642 2,536,778 2,473,670


Consolidated cash flow statement
Half-yearly financial statements at June 30, 2021

In thousands of euros  06/30/2021 06/30/2020 12/31/2020
OPERATING ACTIVITIES      
NET PROFIT 72,897 (461) 109,953
Items with no impact on cash flow from operations      
Amortization and depreciation of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets 38,286 39,930 78,232
Net profit of equity-accounted companies, net of dividends received 327 378 711
Losses/(gains) on asset disposals (26) 121 152
Net change in provisions 1,641 525 1,642
Share-based payment expense 5,351 3,269 8,458
Other non-cash income/(expenses) (655) 538 (1,669)
Acquisition costs of consolidated companies 323 615 770
Finance costs 8,816 13,892 24,918
Tax expense 23,172 (157) 38,919
CASH FLOW FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES BEFORE FINANCE COSTS AND TAX 150,132 58,651 262,085
Change in working capital requirement 32,058 167,318 134,594
Income tax paid (45,174) (13,823) (27,761)
CASH FLOW FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES 137,017 212,146 368,919
INVESTING ACTIVITIES      
Acquisitions of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets (19,112) (20,401) (35,069)
Proceeds from disposals of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets 49 22 285
Increase/(decrease) in financial assets (1,270) (62) (713)
Acquisitions of consolidated activities and companies, net of acquired cash (8,792) (12,462) (13,230)
CASH FLOW FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES (29,124) (32,902) (48,727)
FINANCING ACTIVITIES      
Share capital increases/(reductions) - - -
Net (purchases)/sales of treasury shares (689) 1,781 2,542
Increase in long-term borrowings             - - 78,406
Decrease in long-term borrowings (102) (79) (245,176)
Increase in long-term loans to associates - (2,904) (8,481)
Increase/(decrease) in bank overdrafts 366 (851) 464
Net repayment of lease liabilities (19,808) (21,147) (41,671)
Net interest paid (1,973) (6,388) (22,164)
Net interest paid on lease liabilities (1,865) (2,369) (4,455)
Buy-out of non-controlling interests (956) (147) (164)
Dividends paid to the owners of the parent - - (19,771)
Dividends paid to non-controlling interests of consolidated companies              - - -
CASH FLOW FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES (25,028) (32,103) (260,469)
NET CHANGE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS 82,864 147,141 59,722
Impact of foreign exchange rate movements on cash 2,215 (5,691) (9,207)
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR 215,951 165,436 165,436
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT THE END OF THE YEAR 301,041 306,885 215,951

Attachment