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Edited Transcript of EXPN.L earnings conference call or presentation 15-May-19 8:30am GMT

Full Year 2019 Experian PLC Earnings Call

London May 17, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Experian PLC earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 8:30:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Brian J. Cassin

Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director

* Kerry L. Williams

Experian plc - COO & Executive Director

* Lloyd M. Pitchford

Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alexander Mees

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of UK Small and Mid Cap Research

* Andrew Charles Grobler

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst

* Brett Richard Huff

Stephens Inc., Research Division - MD

* Ed Steele

* George Nicholas Gregory

Exane BNP Paribas, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Giasone Ulisse Salati

Macquarie Research - Senior Media Analyst

* Paul Daniel Alexander Sullivan

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Director & Analyst

* Rajesh Kumar

HSBC, Research Division - Analyst

* Thomas Richard Sykes

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Head of Business Svcs Co. Research & Industry & Leisure & Transport Research

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Presentation

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [1]

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Okay, I think we're ready to go. So welcome everybody to our results. Please to say it's been a very good year for Experian; one of our best in our history in fact. We exceeded growth expectations that we had when we're going into the year. And what's really pleasing is that we've delivered strong growth across all of our businesses both B2B and B2C. Our core businesses are performing really well and it's a lot of the new products that we've introduced over the last couple of years, which has really driven our growth higher. That's really in every region and our strategy of combining ever more of our capabilities together to create innovative solutions for our clients really is starting to gain a lot of traction.

The pace of innovation if anything has quickened and we expect that to continue, most recent example being the introduction of Experian Boost, which we believe will further transform the strategic position of our consumer business in North America going forward. So very good growth across the business, but more importantly the nature of that growth good part of it is coming from product offerings that either take us into new areas of client spend or new markets and the areas that we can scale globally and this provides us with a lot of opportunities as we go forward.

Lloyd will go through the financial details shortly, but I'll pick at a few highlights. So we had 9% organic revenue growth for the year with outstanding 10% organic revenue growth in Q4. Momentum in B2B is very strong. It has continued the trend we've had in the last few years. Globally, we grew by 9% and a good year in Consumer Services, up by 6% organically. North America B2B was the outstanding performer up 11% organically. UK also had a very strong year, was up by 7% in B2B. Brazil had a fantastic fourth quarter, and we had another really great year in EMEA and Asia Pacific, both in terms of results and strategic progress that we've made in those regions.

In consumer [we're not] back to gross, but we now have significant scale audiences for our consumer products across the 3 territories we've, over 55 million members in total, so really building a substantial presence globally there. And then finally margins were up 20 basis points at constant currencies, as we continue to invest back in the business. We had a strong year for cash conversion, 97%, and during the year we invested heavily in new products and technology innovation programs. We expanded the scope of our minority and venture program. We completed the acquisition of Compuscan in April, and we continue to return cash to shareholders and we've now returned over $4.5 billion through dividends and buyback over the last 6 years, and today, we've announced a further 4% increase in the dividend and another $400 million buyback.

Okay. And this slide helps to give some context about the opportunities the markets that we operate in. We aim to grow by focusing on a few things. First, the expanded use cases for our data. Secondly by developing increasingly sophisticated solutions in our core markets that combine data, analytics and software. You've heard us talk about that a lot of last few years and finally by entering new high-growth markets where real time uses of data are changing the way businesses are performed. And you can see a lot of the segments that we're in today and most of these segments we have significant growth opportunities and we have relatively low market shares with a fantastic roster of products to address those opportunities.

As we look at all of these end markets, they're all actually really been driven by a number of factors. Some of these I've mentioned before. First of all, there is an increasing need to improve productivity and reduce costs. That's true across all of our client base. There is a strategic imperative to deliver a better frictionless customer experiences in a much more competitive world. We're also seeing that transactions are becoming increasingly complex with need for more and more data and that needs to be turned into instant accurate and fair decision making. And increasingly, we're seeing customers and consumers demand instant decisions, great digital experiences and control, and all of that relies on sophisticated solutions that use large data sets, new technologies that can process this into actionable insights and drive better outcomes for businesses and consumers. So a strong backdrop to our growth prospects.

And these really tie into our strategic focus areas. Credit remains the biggest vertical across the business and we want to make all parts of the credit lending process better, simpler, faster for both businesses and consumers. And we want to improve the experience but also reduce costs for our clients, and some of the biggest opportunities that we're seeing the market today are really to address that and we see that growing in the future. We also have a big role in helping our clients find, understand and connect with their customers. All businesses want to do this better, they want faster interactions and they want more intelligent interactions and our products and services help them address that.

The big focus for us is to empower consumers in their financial lives, something we're uniquely positioned to do and we see identity verification as a large and growing market opportunity as more transactions are conducted digitally, the scope for fraud increases and the need for robust B2B and B2C solutions also rises. Some of these points I think are immediately obvious when you think of our traditional financial services, marketplaces, but actually they apply far beyond that. All industries need to use data and solutions to remove complexity and cost. A good example of this would be our healthcare vertical, where our core capabilities in verification and risk assessments are giving us great opportunities. And there are many more like that.

Experian, we have thousands of products across our regions and business units and we've driven great success in the business by commercially bundling these products. But increasingly what we're seeing is by combining these products, not just in a commercial bundle but in a technological bundle, which creates a platform that not only addresses key business needs but also helps our clients automate processes and importantly platforms that can scale globally, we think a lot of our growth opportunity is going to come from these areas. Slide in front of you gives you a snapshot of that. The first one of these platforms is really one you're probably very familiar with, which is our decisioning platforms, Decision Analytics as it was known, probably most of you know the PowerCurve suite, and PowerCurve had a fantastic year, that suite of products was actually up by 60% during the year. And PowerCurve itself has actually a lot of growth opportunities in its own right, across the different modules that clients use it for across originations, strategy management, customer management and collections and we're investing behind all of those. But it also serves as a core component for a lot of our other decisioning platforms like CrossCore, Experian One, which we are inducing to the market this year and others that we have in the pipeline.

We see a similar opportunity for Ascend globally. Recent client wins in the UK, Brazil, Italy are adding to the momentum that we see in the US and validate that this is a platform which is applicable in all markets including markets where we don't actually have a bureau. Open Data is our newest proposition and we have one of the leading Open Data platforms in the UK. The UK is the most advanced market with respect to open banking and we're improving account concept in several countries including Spain, South Africa and Italy with our Trusso categorization engine, with several clients due to come to -- onto that product in the next year. So it's in its infancy. We have a great set of propositions and we believe that there's going to be a lot of growth in this in the years to come and we're very well positioned for that.

On the consumer side, we want to be an undisputed champion, and we're going to help to build more direct relationships in more geographies to help consumers in all aspects of their financial lives. And we are actually already unique amongst our competitors set in this regard. We're the only one who has large scale direct consumer relationships and we see more opportunity for this in the future.

Now, one of the key point planks of our strategy that we set out a few years ago was to create a culture of continuous innovation from the way that we work to the solutions that we create. And I think you can see the results of that coming through in the last few years. And we're going to continue to press that agenda forward. Equally, if not more importantly, is the belief that because of the unique position that we held as an organization, we also have a responsibility to directly engage consumers in our markets to help and provide assistance and products that help them improve their financial lives. And the aim of that is to foster financial inclusion through all our efforts across B2B and B2C and increasingly this is what the societies that we operate in, the politicians, regulators and consumers expect from an organization like Experian. It's a very powerful mission. It's one that everybody in Experian passionately believes in and one that we are pushing through very hard.

Our first step was to put consumers at the heart of what we do and that really starts by using our capabilities to develop products and services that give them the ability to control their lives, not just to control their lives but also get better outcomes in their financial lives. And that's through direct relationships and free propositions to consumers. We have almost 1.7 billion people globally that are unbanked, not just in places that you'd expect like in Asia and Africa, we have about 100 million consumers in the US who don't have a chance at -- fair chance at access to credit today and products like Experian Boost in the US, rental data in the UK and Marketplaces in Asia Pacific, just a few of the initiatives that we're pursuing to undertake to address this global issue. The good news is that, it's a really worthy goal and as is so often the case it's the right thing to do, it's also a big opportunity for us as an organization. I'm extremely proud the hard work and dedication of everybody at Experian and we remain committed to enabling more opportunities to drive financial inclusion economies around the world.

So turning to the regions. North America had an outstanding year, 10% organic revenue growth and 11% total growth. We've previously talked to you about One Experian, good example of this what is means in practice, vast majority of our large clients in North America now use significantly more than One Experian product in every contract that we launch or we sign. Innovation was a big part of the B2B agenda in North America this year. B2B grew by 11% and it was new products like Ascend, Trended Data, Clarity and PowerCurve, which had a big contribution to that. Consumer Services made huge progress, up 9% organically, very strong growth in identity protection and lead generation. We now have nearly 19 million free members in the US through experian.com and that provides us with a big, big audience for our products. We launched, as I mentioned, our latest innovation Experian Boost in March and we're very confident that it's going to scale quickly. The significance of this shouldn't be overlooked. We're now the second largest free membership platform in the US and that's going to provide us with a whole range of business opportunities going forward.

We've had great success with many of our top clients, who are now using the Ascend analytical sand box. That's been a great year, but we're really just getting started and we have many more modules to come. Sand box was the first module on the Ascend platform. It's actually now in most of the largest financial institutions in the US and we're going to expand from that base. We've added new capabilities, which incorporate different datasets. For example, Clarity data, automotive data and business credit data and we're winning new deals in these verticals with the Ascend platform. And we expect also that growth will come from the rollout of this platform to mid-market clients, which should begin in the middle of this year.

Importantly, by bundling Ascend with PowerCurve for customer management, we're expanding the use case of the Ascend Big Data platform and we're already in market with a solution for account reviews. So decisions like credit limit increases are being made using their real time data from the Ascend platform incorporating AI and machine learning techniques to improve decision making and we have already got our first tier 1 client wins and the pipeline for these solutions is growing. In fact, we had our major client conference in San Antonio last week and one of the first uses of this proposition spoke at the conference and acknowledged that the combination of Ascend and PowerCurve was actually transformational for his business and produced [in a year] payback by significantly improving the quality of decision making. So we're very excited about that.

So we're expanding the functionality of the Ascend platform, adding Experian marketing data and this is going to also potentially bring significant changes to the way our clients perform credit marketing and opens up a new area of client spend to us. So in summary it's been a great start for the Ascend platform, an important contributor to revenue this year, pipeline is strong and we see very good prospects for the year ahead.

Just a quick spotlight on Health. It performed really strongly. In fact, we've had an 8th year in record now of double-digit growth. We expect that to continue. A reminder, the main products in health are decisioning and workforce tools that really enable process automation across the breadth of revenue cycle management for healthcare providers. The focus is on authentication and risk, which are our core Experian capabilities and we delivered really good growth across all areas in eligibility, claims and collections. And we see significant further growth in Health. 60% of US hospitals have at least One Experian solution and we see very large wide space opportunity. We're introducing new services to expand our position, particularly in areas like Identity resolution and we're also now developing services to help improve the consumer experience, as consumers also wants new digital ways to manage their healthcare costs.

Onto consumer services, a really great story here. Back on a very good growth track on the back of our successful launch of the Identity products. I think we're now at a similar stage with Experian Boost, a significant strategic initiative for us. It's an industry first that has -- it has had an exceptionally strong start with just over 1 month in and we have over 600,000 consumers have connected to Experian, which gives you a sense of how this is resonating in the marketplace. The strategy is centered around the theme to control. Consumers want to have greater control, Experian Boost provides that. We help them get better outcomes by gaining the consumers' permission for access to additional data sets that in turn turns into a differentiator B2B data asset. And we're going to continue to innovate; we are the only credit bureau in North America, as I said, with direct relationships and scale and as more countries seek to put consumers in control through legislation like GDP or an open banking, this is going to become increasingly important.

So it works by allowing consumers to add additional data to their credit file. The types of payments they can add include electricity, water, phone bills, TV and Internet. Comprehensive data is added in real time and we then recalculate the score. It's free to everybody, all you have to do is sign up for a membership through experian.com and you're going to roll a couple of the commercials that we're using that accompanied the launch in the US a short while ago.

(presentation)

Right. Actually, the screens that you see around the room are live representations of consumers in the US. They're actually boosting their score. So this is and I'm considering that actually it's quite early particularly in the West Coast when you see that flash up, you've got to wonder what those people are actually doing this time of the night, but they are actually up boosting their credit scores. That's great. I think you can see the impact this is having. We pay attention to some of the things that flash up to give you an idea; 10-point movements makes a really significant difference to the cost of credit to somebody and then you'll see a different color flash up when people actually change their score band. And that's a really big deal. So you can see the impact is happening in real time, hope we will start getting go a bit faster as we get through it.

So what does Experian Boost do, it generates an audience, it triggers an ongoing engagement between the consumer and Experian. That audience usually has credit in 10s; they're often seeking new credit offers in fact and often eligible for new credit offers because that score has changed. So once the data is added and rescored, we match the consumer to the appropriate financial offer through credit match and the volumes through that proposition are scaling pretty rapidly now. So it's an industry first and it's the first step in what we think is our long road map of future innovations around this theme.

Okay, turning now to Latin America. Organic revenue growth was 6% for the year overall. We had very strong quarter, fourth quarter, up 13%. In Brazil, we made steady progress in what was itself a year of political and economic uncertainty. It rebounded heavily in Q4 as we signed a lot of deals that were pent up from prior quarters. And we also signed the first Ascend deal in Brazil in Q4. Spanish LatAm performed extremely well, especially in Colombia, we had big market share gains. And our overall view is that the economy in Brazil is now slowly recovering. Of course, the exciting news is that after a short interval of about 12 years, positive data is actually finally been signed into law and it covers all Brazilians unless they opt out of the process. So that's a significant milestone. We're going to spend the next several months receiving positive data and building out the database under the new law. It will be available in scores and analytical products beginning in October, following a 90-day period of formal communication to all consumers.

So positive data I think as lot of you know enables us to build out a lot of additional products, but also a lot of additional services to consumers. And we're doing incredibly well with our consumer business in Brazil. We've now enrolled 32 million free members, that's up from 22 million this time last year. We are generating revenue across a number of areas like death settlements, credit comparison, fraud protection and B2B and B2C offers. And so with the inclusion of positive data, we expect that growth to accelerate.

So our platforms to enable the receipt of positive data and the use of it, have been developed and tested, products have been rebuilt and we're ready to really to rollout our propositions, when it becomes law in the second half. We do think that growth will accelerate over time. It will take time even when we start to receive positive data for history to be established and for that to drive incremental value in scores and other products. But it's long awaited and it's great news.

Now turning to the UK. We made good progress particularly on the B2B side. Overall, organic revenue growth was up 7%. We had overall revenue growth for the year up 4%; B2B 7%. Consumer Services made steady progress, on a path back to growth. So just in B2B, we had some very important strategic client wins and just a little context, most of you will know, we have a very large installed base in the UK for our DA products and some of them -- in particular, some legacy products like Transact, Probe, Tallyman, names you probably haven't heard us mention for quite some time.

And over the last few years, we've been on a very careful migration path for those products to the new PowerCurve suite. We have now converted a 50% of the legacy client base to PowerCurve. We have a migration path set for the next 35% over the next 12 to 24 months and then we will deal with the tail. This is actually a really significant achievement for us and provides great future visibility about the business. Client upgrades and migrations are always an opportunity for clients to look at the different propositions and I think it's a significant indication of strength of our business that we're seeing such a strong conversion rate.

In addition, Ascend is launched. It has had an excellent start. Momentum is very encouraging. We actually closed 5 contracts in FY'19 and we have a pipeline of over 40 potential deals. One of the large major banks wants for their entire underwriting platform across their lending infrastructure, and of course, what's going to be really interesting about Ascend in the UK is that, per my point about the PowerCurve conversions, we're going to be able to actually sell it into the PowerCurve installs and that really is, as we've got such a strong base in the UK, that gives us a really powerful opportunity as we go forward.

Innovation pipeline, not just in UK, but elsewhere it goes way beyond Ascend. Experian One, our Software as a Service proposition, has made its debut in the UK and we've signed our first 2 clients and we have a very big pipeline. And I'll just tell you that our first client because it is kind of interesting. It's actually a small company which offers training courses for adults and career advice. And this company not only does that but actually starts to offer funding for its clients with manual underwriting. So these are people in this small business who actually know very little about credit, making credit decisions and so they were looking for a way to digitize that. And hence our out-of-the box cloud-based scalable Experian One proposition combined bureau data, identity, authentication, fraud detection and flexible decisioning. So in broader terms, I just think that -- I think it's a great example of a small company who would never have been able to consume or afford the type of advanced solutions that we provide into the credit space if it wasn't for this Experian One proposition. And I think it shows that in broader terms we have a very large market opportunity for small firms offering these kind of products online and helping them scale credit in a way they just couldn't do and particularly that opens up a lot of opportunities in SME.

The UK Open Data is a reality. We have signed agreements and we're in discussions with another 14 clients for a new affordability check. The Trusso categorization engine is getting a lot of traction and so far we have 1 major UK bank using our Verdus platform to power their open banking efforts. We were obviously very disappointed moving over to Consumer Side the CMA process didn't go to plan. We abandoned that ClearScore acquisition, but we've dusted ourselves off, and we're going to focus our efforts with renewed vigor on organic development of the business. And actually although sometimes it's easy to miss this given the overall profile the business for us could be, we're actually making a lot of progress. CreditMatcher is already the third largest financial aggregation marketplace in the UK. It grew by 56% last year and we're making a lot of progress, and we have a really robust product roadmap as we introduce a lot of new offers this year. As is it's the case in the US, we're going to position offers around unique to Experian propositions and that's going to be focused on helping people manage their money better, by exchanging data for improved outcomes. So across our UK business, our market position is strengthened. We're addressing new opportunities and we see good prospects ahead.

Turning now to EMEA/Asia Pacific. It is actually our strongest growing region, up 14%, and it was another year of double-digit growth. In EMEA, to give you an example, we closed more deals in H2 FY'19 than we did in the entire year just a few years ago. And it's really been driven by banks in EMEA just like other markets adopting cloud technologies, and we're really well positioned with products like Ascend, Experian One and Open Data platforms, which we are marketing heavily in those regions. As I mentioned at the start, we closed the acquisition of Compuscan. That's another big step for us in EMEA. It's going to accelerate our strategic ambitions in South Africa and give us a gateway into sub-Saharan Africa.

And Asia Pacific, another really great story. The opportunities, I think we talked to you before about that for the expansion of credit by definition given the low penetration are extremely strong. We've seen that in the penetration of our PowerCurve suite in particular. But, for example, Indonesia is a market we've been very successful in the last couple of years. Less than half the adult population have a bank account and yet it will soon have the third largest middle class of any emerging economy. A lot of consumers still get rejected for credit due to the lack of data, but we know that the vast majority of consumers in Southeast Asia connect to the Internet via smartphones and so by partnering major mobile service providers, we can directly engage and access data.

So we're partnering as we mentioned before, which creates something we call Data Marketplaces to bridge that gap. This year, we signed 2 major new deals with C88 and Jirnexu in Indonesia and the Philippines and Malaysia. And these marketplaces allow us to score more people using nontraditional data and the result of that is that we have increased acceptance rate for credit offers, for unsecured loans, credit cards, insurance and millions and millions of people are now getting more access to affordable credit. So steps like these are new and innovative and helping us expand on top of the additional initiatives that we have across Asia Pacific.

Okay. So sum up, it's been a great year and we think there's much more to come. We do sit I think in a very interesting spot with a lot of opportunities and a very dynamic industry. We have core capabilities, which we believe puts us in a unique position to take advantage of those growth opportunities. We are now deploying new solutions at pace and scale across multiple markets. And we're also putting consumers ever more at the heart of our strategy, accessing large audiences, while at the same time expanding competitive advantage through consumer contributed data. Our focus now is on executing this plan across our geographic footprint and sustain our growth into the future.

And so with that, I'm going to hand you over to Lloyd.

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [2]

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Thanks, Brian. Good morning, everyone. I'll start as usual with a recap of our key financial metrics. As Brian outlined, we've made some great strategic, operational and financial progress in the last year, sustaining the high level of rates of growth and finishing the year very strongly. Our B2B portfolio delivered another strong year with excellent progress across a range of new product introductions benefiting from the innovation investments that we've talked to you about in recent years. Consumer Services also progressed well with strong momentum behind our new consumer products and also in our Partner Solutions business. In line with the guidance we outlined a year ago, we progressed our margin by 20 basis points of constant currency with another strong year of cash conversion and we ended the year in a strong financial position at the bottom of our leverage guidance range and with our facilities extended.

Turning to the highlights. We have a great end for the year with organic growth in the fourth quarter of 10%, we support both total and organic growth for the year as a whole to 9%, and as expected we saw a 3% drag from foreign exchange at a revenue level. Benchmark EBIT grew double digit at 10% and margin was up 20 basis points at constant currency as the benefits of the productivity program more than offset the increased investments in new products and technology. Benchmark EPS grew 9% at constant currency and 4% at actual rates in line with the FX guidance we gave earlier in the year. And cash generation was strong with 97% operating cash conversion and the Board has (inaudible) approved a 4% increase in the full year dividend.

On this chart you can see some of the revenue trends in a little more detail between B2B and B2C. On the left, the organic growth for our B2B business where growth across the portfolio has been consistently strong and reflects the momentum behind the innovation investments that you heard Brian outline. We saw a great finish to the year with 11% growth in the fourth quarter bringing organic revenue growth to 9% for the year as a whole. And within that, we saw strength in B2B across all of the regions but particularly strong in North America and EMEA or Asia Pacific. In the fourth quarter, in particular, we saw double-digit growth in both the UK and Latin America B2B businesses, and for the year as a whole, our global decisioning businesses, which represent well over $1 billion in revenue, grew 14% organically as we saw some really strong momentum in Decision Analytics across all regions and as you heard from Brian, another year of double-digit growth in our Health business.

On the right hand chart, you can see our consumer business, which is growing persistently through FY'19 with organic revenue growth of 6% for the year overall. The US consumer business progressed well with growth of 8% in the fourth quarter. In the UK, we've made steady progress, we were down just 1% in the fourth quarter and stable [return] of the year and our strategy across the businesses of diversification is going well with very strong growth from those new products in lead generation and identity protection.

Looking at the quarterly growth by region. North America, as you can see, was consistently strong and we maintained the high single-digit growth rate in Q4 even after lapping at the end of the annualization of the Fannie Mae contract for Trended Data. And financial services revenue grew double-digit in the fourth quarter.

Latin America delivered double-digit growth in Q4 with a very strong quarter in Brazil and continued strength across the Spanish Latin America region. The Brazil performance for this year was heavily Q4 weighted, when we landed quite a number of contracts, which had been pending discussion earlier in the year and really pending the outcome of the political and economic uncertainty. So it's great to get that growth landed in the fourth quarter. For the year ahead, we'd probably expect to start more in line with the average for the year as a whole in Latin America given that phasing in this last year.

In UK and Ireland, B2B was the main driver of growth, ending the year strongly with a number of decision and deliveries finalized in that fourth quarter. In the UK, the consumer recovery really masks the B2B trends a little and we had a very strong Q1 this last year in B2B decisioning when we won a number of large contracts and a similarly strong exit in the fourth quarter. So as we lap that strong Q1 in Decision Analytics, we fully expect to start the year in Q1 in the UK in low-single digits. As we see consistently strong growth rates across EMEA and Asia Pacific really driven from the Marketplace developments and also Decision Analytics wins.

Looking at North America to the regional results. I'll comment on performance at constant rates. And in North America, you see organic revenue growth was 10%. In data, there was strong growth from consumer information market driven by growth in core profiles, trended data and mortgage and the great momentum that you've heard from Brian in Ascend. Auto also performed strongly growing double-digit as it benefited from new product introductions across the dealer network. And there was also a significant growth in our decisioning business and Decision Analytics performed very strongly growing double-digit as we secured multiple wins in software, analytics as well as fraud and identity management. And health delivered that eight successive year of double-digit growth.

In Consumer Services, we saw a great progress with considerable momentum in IdentityWorks and the rapidly growing contribution from CreditMatcher, the lead generation product. So the year as a whole, these 2 new products generated over $80 million in revenue and exited the year on an annual run rate of over $110 million. So you can see a strong growth momentum from those 2 new products. And we also saw good growth in Partner Solutions our B2B and B2C business and at the end of the year we concluded the acquisition of AllClear ID, which provides breach and pre-breach preparedness support to customers.

So tying all the financials together in North America you can see the strong revenue growth translating into very strong EBIT progression and we reported 90 basis points margin progression benefiting from our productivity program and the strong growth in the consumer business while we continue to invest behind the scaling of our new products inside B2B.

Over to Latin America. For the full year, the region grew 6% with Brazil growing at mid-single digits and FX really here landed with a 15% headwind to Latin America revenue overall. There was good growth in data across both consumer and business information in Brazil, as we secured multiple wins across several large clients and that helped offset our weakness in our mid-market vertical. Spanish Latin America had another strong year where we secured a new and expanded mandates for our B2B platforms. In our consumer business in Brazil, we invested strongly behind the expansion of the consumer base in advance of the move to positive data. We currently report the consumer business within data and it performed very well. As we monetize our free membership base with particular strength in the Limpa Nome and [eCredit] product lines. And the diversification strategy we have in Brazil, we talked about a few years ago, continues decisioning, progressed very well, up 23% across Latin America reflecting the strong demand for software, analytics and scoring in Brazil and across the board in Latin America region. Our margin reflected the mix of growth, the FX headwinds and the investments behind our consumer business.

Moving to the UK and Ireland where organic B2B growth was 7% and the consumer business declined by 4% for the year as a whole overall. There was good growth in data driven by the strength in our prequalification service and growing contribution from affordability services through our Open Data platforms as well as solid progress in core credit volumes. Decisioning performed strongly particularly in the first and fourth quarters that I mentioned where we had a number of large software wins and renewals and we also saw strength in analytics. Consumer Services improved through the year and exited the year in a stable position. The rate of decline in membership revenues continues to moderate while CreditMatcher delivered very strong rates of growth as you saw in Brian's presentation. And for the year ahead, we have a great pipeline also of new products to bring to the market from US business.

On to our EMEA and Asia Pacific. Performed very strongly, up 14%, with double-digit growth in both EMEA and the Asia Pacific subregions. We saw great strength across both EMEA and Asia Pacific and especially in our high potential markets in Asia and Africa. Individually, there were some very strong country performances including India, where we grew 60%, Southeast Asia was up 40%, Turkey and the Middle East up 52% and South Africa up 26%. So some very strong scaling performances from some of our emerging countries. And Data was up 4% in total with strength in our bureaus in Southeast Asia offset by some softness in our European bureaus. Decisioning was very strong up 21% overall, driven by multiple business wins for software and analytics, as well as the great progress we've made in Marketplaces this year, as we on-boarded the new partnerships with C88 and Jirnexu in Southeast Asia.

Looking at EBIT margin. Overall, our operating margin progressed in line with expectations we set at the start of the year with constant currency margins up 20 basis points. We made strong progress in our productivity initiatives, which allowed us to invest more of our growth back into organic investment. And as part of that, during the year, these productivity initiatives meant that our full time equivalent headcount increased by just 1% compared to our organic revenue growth of 9%. So on the chart starting the year from our rebased prior year margin of 27.1%, you can see progress in North America reflected the good operating leverage, as well as the increased investment behind the significant new products of Ascend, IdentityWorks CrossCore and Experian Boost.

Latin American margins increased modestly, as underlying margins offset higher investment in the development of our consumer business, ahead of the move to positive data. We made good progress in EMEA and Asia-Pacific as these regions continue to benefit from improving scale. And the UK reflected the revenue decline in consumer services, but also a higher net investment including preparedness to introduce on new platforms into the UK region. Other on this chart reflects the central investment into our global scaling teams and also a negative contribution from our associate interest in cross-channel marketing where we disclosed a major -- disposed a majority stake a couple of years ago. That business contributed a loss of $4 million in FY'19 versus a $3 million gain in FY'18, as the current majority owners/investor restructure their business. And we expect a similar result from that associated in FY'20, but just as a reminder, our principal route to monetizing that investment is via our future disposal. So taking all of that together, EBIT margin is up 20 basis points at constant currency and down 20 basis points after a 40 basis points FX headwinds.

Turning to EPS. On the left you can see the rebased IFRS 15 EPS of $0.944. Growth in benchmark EBIT from ongoing activities was 10% reflecting the strong organic revenue growth and the operating leverage. Interest expense increased to $113 million with the rises in market interest rates. The tax rate was 25.5%, in line with the prior year. This year noncontrolling interest reflected the strong growth that we've seen in micro analytics. You saw some statistics on Brian's presentation and we own a majority stake and that's why you see the minority stake for that growth in income statements. And we saw a benefit from the share repurchase program with weighted average number of shares at 904 million. And EPS was therefore up 9% on a constant currency basis, continuing the EPS progress we made from the prior year. After the FX headwind, our reported EPS was up 4%.

Looking at our statutory results and comparison of our benchmark to statutory, things really (inaudible) on the side of the other acquisition related items, mainly the step up in fair value acquisition consideration, which is where some of our acquisitions are headed by case which we put through the P&L. Exceptional items reduced substantially from the prior year when we incurred some one-off legal expenses. And the noncash financing remeasurements, you are familiar with, are really around the noncash foreign exchange reevaluations on our Brazilian real funding.

So turning onto cash. We had another strong year. Cash generation is strengthened in the second half of the year to give another strong year of cash conversion at 97%, with growth of benchmark operating cash flow of 11% at the constant FX. And free cash flow of $907 million was 102% conversion of benchmark earnings to cash.

Look at our capital framework. We continued to invest organically across a broad range of activities including the technology transformation and innovation, new product developments and the growth initiatives that you've heard us talk about. And organic capital investment for the year was 9% of revenue. We completed the acquisition of AllClear ID near the end of the year and made a number of other minority venture investments, and we also announced the acquisition of Compuscan, which completed at the end of April in FY'20. We raised the full year dividend by 4% to $0.465 per share, reflecting the momentum we've seen in the business and the strong outlook for the year ahead. And we completed $215 million of share repurchase by year end at an average price of [GBP18.22]. We took advantage of market volatility during the year to exercise the program, and the year ahead, including the carryover from last year's program, we expect to complete around $400 million of purchases of which we'd expect around $250 million to be accretive. And we continue to report strong return on capital employed, which was 15.9% or up 40 basis points during the year.

So turning to CapEx. I wanted to give you a little bit more on understanding of the makeup of our organic investments. Historically, a significant portion of our CapEx has been our data assets, representing over half of our FY'16 capital investments. And over the last 4 years, you can see on the slide, we've been investing significantly behind our technology and innovation program. And you can see the proportionate increase of our investment we've been making in infrastructure and new product development and these 2 categories now make up over 60% of our overall capital investment program.

And on the right hand side, you can see that this investment has delivered significant growth from a broad range of new products. I've highlighted here some of the major platforms we've talked to. But the other category also includes a broad range of new innovation and the chart includes the growth from products introduced in the prior 2 years. So with a significant potential for growth, as our markets expand and technology creates addressable markets around us, you'll see us continue to prioritize organic investment to generate growth and value.

Further on the balance sheet, we ended the year with net debt of $3.3 billion, down $100 million, since the start of the financial year and our net debt to EBITDA at the end of the year was 2x. If you adjust for the Compuscan acquisition, it would have been 2.1x, which is well within our 2 to 2.5x guidance range. And during the year, we issued bonds maturing in 2024 and 2029 and extended the average duration about that and our bank facilities through 2023.

Updating this slide on minority and investment program that I told you about at the half year. In the first half, we invested in C88, the parent of CekAja.com, one of the Southeast Asia's fastest growing comparison sites in Indonesia and the Philippines. And we also made a small investment in the year in early stage health decisioning business, Madakat. In the second half, we also took stakes in Jirnexu, Malaysia's leading comparison site for financial products. (inaudible) online platform enabling use just to create personalized credit scores and get access to financial products, and TrueData provides a mobile data platform that helps digital advertisers generate user insights and data for mobile advertising. And our investments that you can see on this page are already generating significant value through the commercial relationships we have with the businesses, and you can see that really through our partnership with Finicity to launch Experian Boost and also the Marketplace collaborations across Asia.

Looking ahead into some modeling considerations for FY'20, as you've seen, we continue to expect momentum next year with organic revenue growth in the 6% to 8% range starting in the lower half of the range as Brazil reverts to trend as we lap that strong decisioning comparable in the UK in the first quarter. The acquisitions of AllClearID and Compuscan will add about 1% revenue to the year as a whole and we expect EBIT to grow at or above revenue growth with another year of modest margin progression as we continue to invest strongly behind scaling our new products and increasing consumer offerings and consumer engagement across the business.

Next year, we will be transitioning to IFRS 16, the new standard for leases. There isn't expected to be a material impact to the group and based on our current operating lease portfolio, the impact is an increase of about $10 million on net interest offset by a reduction in operating costs of about $10 million. So no impact from overall bottom line. On a recent rates, we expect only a moderate FX headwind of a little under 1% to EBIT. We expect net interest to be around $135 million and that reflects increase in market interest rates and the $10 million impact from IFRS 16.

Benchmark tax rate around 26% and cash tax to be in the low 20%. And when we take into account the share repurchase program, we announced today, the weighted average number of shares is expected to be in the region of 900 million for the year ahead. And we expect CapEx to be around 9% to 10% of revenue as we continue to invest behind the innovation and technology program.

So to summarize, we've delivered really good financial and strategic progress in FY'19 with a strong finish, strong growth in revenue, constant currency EBIT margin progression and strong earnings per share growth. As we move into FY'20 with strong fundamentals for the business and good momentum, we expect another year of revenue growth, EBIT growth at or above revenue growth and further strong progress in benchmark earnings per share, all at constant currency. And we'll continue to apply our capital framework investing in innovation and strategic initiatives to drive long-term shareholder value given the expanding markets that you've seen that we're operating in.

And with that, I'll hand you back to Brian.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [3]

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Well, thank you, Lloyd. So to sum up, FY'19 was a great year. Our addressable markets, we've made great progress and we think we've got expanding opportunities. A lot of growth opportunities is coming from the trend, the major trends we talked to you about. And we have the solutions, the technologies, the data and the tools to really play into that. We operate wide geographic footprint that gives us, I think, tremendous opportunity to scale our propositions globally and we're very focused on that and we look forward to the next year with some excitement and confidence as we head forward.

So one final note, before we move to Q&A, is to just mark that this is the last set of results that we will have the pleasure of the Company of Peg Smith, who is retiring from Experian after 42 years of outstanding service. I think that all of you in the investment community know Peg and I'm pretty sure that none of you would really understand what Experian does without Peg. She has been a fantastic servant to the Company and a great servant and helped to all of us in the management team and we just want to express our deep gratitude for everything that she's done and recognize her achievement. Thank you, Peg.

So with that I'm going to invite, Kerry, up to the stage and move into Q&A. We can just wait for the mic to get you. So from here Paul.

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Questions and Answers

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Paul Daniel Alexander Sullivan, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Director & Analyst [1]

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I'd like to echo those comments. Thank you, Peg, for everything. Just a couple from me. Firstly, on the US B2B growth in the fourth quarter, it slowed a little bit more I think than we expected. Could you just talk about sort of market conditions behind that and the 6% to 8% group organic growth for the year ahead, the lower end of that given the exit rate would seem very conservative. So any color on the moving parts there? And then secondly on Brazil, how meaningful do you think positive data could be? I mean, how excited should we get about the opportunity there and over what time framing? Can you help us quantify or frame the opportunity anyway? Thank you.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [2]

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Lloyd, do you want to take the first two?

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [3]

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So I think the majority of the Q3 to Q4 in the US is really the end of the lapping of the Trended Data contract. We said when we talked to our Q3 results that we expected the US overall to be 7% to 8% in Q4 and we came in at the top end of that range. So it's really a very consistent Trended Data, a very consistent high single-digit growth and as we look out across the year ahead, we expect North America again to be very consistent and strong in that high single-digit range for the region as a whole. On the 6% to 8% range, if you know you look at our 9% this last year, you take out the Trended Data and the one-off bridge, you're in the 7% to 8% range. Clearly, going into the year, we have a range of our forecasts. I think just as we keep going into this year. So that's why we're starting the year and we'll see how we progress.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [4]

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And just going to back the Brazil question, I think the answer is, I've been excited about positive data for about 12 years. But I think the time has finally arrived when the law is passed and we do think this is going to give tremendous opportunities to our business. We think we're well positioned. It plays into a lot of the things that we've been doing, the Consumer Services push that we put in the last couple of years, we now have 32 million members on that platform, the strength and relationships that we have, the data superiority that we have, a negative data which is going to be a big advantage for us going forward as well. So I think there's just a ton of opportunity there. I think the question is always going to be timing. It's always been a question of timing in Brazil but I think more nuanced in -- first of all, it's October before, it really becomes operational. The data then we didn't have to build up a history of data because it's from that point on not looking back.

So it will take time for the data sets to build, what we do know is that we have collected significant degree of positive data off our own back roughly about 12 million consumers. So we've already developed proposition in the back of that and we know exactly what kind of solutions will go to our clients with and we know that we'll be able to generate new revenue streams of that and I just ask Kerry to add a bit more color to that.

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [5]

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I think that's right. I think that we're going to see near-term opportunities in our consumer propositions because the positive data obviously will make it more attractive for the consumers to access our free offerings and the things that we have planned to leverage off of that. And then as Brian said, the historical buildup of the data to incorporate into the models for the financial institutions will just take a little bit of time and so that will progress over the next couple of years.

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Andrew Charles Grobler, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst [6]

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Andy Grobler from Credit Suisse. Just a couple for me. On Slide 3, you showed your addressable markets. How much of that of those markets are you currently engaged with how much in any scale and how much is kind of a new opportunity over the next 2 to 3 years? And then secondly in the UK, what have you seen in terms of competitive response from some -- from (inaudible), which a bit more active that is potentially impacting your business.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [7]

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On the UK, is that business overall or specific market?

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Andrew Charles Grobler, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst [8]

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Particularly in kind of the Matcher products and the B2C products.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [9]

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Addressable market, so I'll give you one example. I think the number we have in slide is $10 billion for decisioning. The actual potential market for decision products is actually much bigger than that. We think that $10 billion directly addresses the markets that we can attack with the products set that we have or about to introduce into market. So I mentioned the PowerCurve suite grew by 60% last year, fantastic growth. We are I think by far away the #1 provider of large scale decisioning systems to Tier 1, Tier 2 institutions globally. Experian One really is the first chance that we've had to turn that incredible capability into a broader set of customers that frankly just couldn't afford the time or the money to engage in something as comprehensive as Power Curve. And that's why I gave you the example of the small sort of training company that -- there's no way that they would even have been able to entertain anything like the Power Curve proposition, just wouldn't make sense. But the SaaS base solution really opens up that opportunity for us.

So that's where we see that market opportunity expanding quite significantly. $10 billion is a market opportunity for decisioning across many verticals we're really counting, financial services, telco, utilities, set of the places where we traditionally sell to. I think this is absolutely realistic. OF course, it's down to us how well we do within that, but I think we're doing pretty well so far. Does that answer to that question.

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Andrew Charles Grobler, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst [10]

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Of the (inaudible) billion, $10 billion for decisioning. I mean, how much of that are you, if you can quantify, are you active in right now and how much is new, you talked about decisioning, but across the broad?

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [11]

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At the top of my head, I don't have the split of that between what we call Tier 1 and Tier 2 kind of decisioning. But I'm going to say Tier 1 Tier 2 is probably the order of $2 billion to $3 billion in market opportunity overall. We have a significant share of that today. And the rest really is -- as we start to penetrate further down into broader applications.

And then coming back to the question on the UK, in terms of increased competition, I think we've had discussion before. UK is a very competitive marketplace in the consumer space. We have some existing incumbents there. But we shouldn't overlook the fact that from nothing a few years ago we've built almost 6 million free consumer relationships and CreditMatcher products which is now third largest in the UK. We see frankly no letup in the momentum behind that, and as we start to look at some of the propositions that we have in the US and elsewhere and leverage that into the UK, the strength of the brand, the relationship that we have and position that we sit in gives us huge amount of opportunity and you can't take anything for granted, there's going to be very competitive, there's going to be a lot of people looking at this. But, we expect that we're going to be able to hold our own just fine.

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Alexander Mees, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of UK Small and Mid Cap Research [12]

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Alexander Mees from JPMorgan. Two please. Just firstly, headcount up by just 1% in FTEs. I wonder -- do you see this as sustainable, and if so what it means for margins? And secondly how the headcount trends varied by region within the year? Secondly on ClearCore, clearly a disappointing outcome, I wonder what are the lessons learned and do you see the UK is lesser market for M&A now.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [13]

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Well then, Kerry do you want to take the headcount?

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [14]

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So the headcount is going to vary in any given year depending on where our opportunities are. But it is part of our plans to have the trend maintain where it come from in FY'19. Going forward, we think that the productivity measures that we've put in the Company, the technology that we've leveraged in the Company and the capabilities that we have to take the market position us very well to be able to sustain good productivity numbers in the headcount area.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [15]

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And on the ClearScore question, I actually also said on the Board of Sainsbury's is that we announced I've had a lot of experience with CMA over last 18 months. There's no doubt there's a tougher stance being taken by the CMA. I think you only have to read (inaudible) show that they're going to take a much more stringent view of consolidation in the UK marketplace. I think didn't agree with the CMA has approached this. We still don't think they're right. They took a view that somehow the combination we would have a disincentive to innovate in what is one of the most competitive marketplaces that you can think of. But, as I said, it would have been nice to completed the ClearScore acquisition. We will continue with our own initiatives and continue to build the business organically.

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George Nicholas Gregory, Exane BNP Paribas, Research Division - Research Analyst [16]

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It's George Gregory from Exane PNP Paribas. A couple on Boost and one on kind of your broader EM strategy please. Brian, firstly, just on Boost. You talked about the 600,000 consumers who've seen that's got boosted. Could you talk a little bit about how that sort of converting and what you've experienced in terms of being able to up-sell those consumers into profitable product?

And secondly on Boost, you've got utility and telco data now. What are the hurdles to adding more data? Is that self-imposed by Experian or is it an FCRA kind of regulatory issue that is preventing perhaps income data being scraped by Finicity?

And a final strategic question, just what is your strategy for emerging markets where we're seeing kind of online payment companies internalize transactions? How does -- how do you see Experian playing potentially in those markets in the long term, please.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [17]

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Lloyd, do you want to deal with the conversion rate of Experian Boost?

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [18]

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Yes. I think the way to think of our consumer business is, how do we generate traffic and then how do we within the ecosystem cross-sell into various different things? Boost is a great way of engaging with the consumer by bringing them in, showing them how they can increase their score but also to keep them engaged on an ongoing basis, that traffic and that engagement converts and it'll convert into our product introductions for CreditMatcher, but also cross-sell into the identity products and you saw a bit of an uptick in our identity onboarding memberships during the first quarter. So it's a bit early to say, but anything really that generates traffic drives engagement, will drive options for us to monetize.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [19]

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Kerry, do you want to talk about FCRA point and the data point?.

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [20]

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So one of the things to remember with Boost or the emerging markets -- with Boost is that, so we started with the ones that we're the most straightforward for us and we have a whole roadmap of additional items that we will expand and introduce to the product going forward. So we're in the early days of what we're going to do with our consumer engagement not only in the North American market but in other markets and it will continue to expand over what we have introduced in this first phase.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [21]

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The final question on Asia Pacific. I think this is really interesting strategically because a lot of those organizations that you're talking about, I won't name them, are actually coming to us to power those opportunities. So a lot of that is because they're seeing what we are doing, we have things like Marketplaces and seeing that as a significant business opportunity for them. If you think about some of the platforms, commerce platforms in Asia-Pacific, none of these people who are members of those commerce platforms have banks but they have a need for credit and they're often getting credit through informal mechanisms. So the runway of growth for that is very significant and by the way it's not sort of mutually exclusive. It isn't that the payment (inaudible) actually the incumbent banks are going to see a lot of growth as well. So this is why initiatives like that being able to score people using alternative forms of data is a really key development for us and we're in a great position. So I think that will drive additional growth for us.

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [22]

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And Brian, if I could add to that, it's very good for us from a long-term perspective to see online payment companies or commerce companies develop the lending capabilities because these are emerging markets. And so in the early days that's perfectly acceptable for them to be able to lend to a consumer, but as that market develops, you're going to need visibility into all the lending that's going on in that market. The regulators you're going to need to be able to see it, the banks you're going to need to be able to see it and as that continues to develop and there are multiple points of lending that are going on in that emerging market that creates the opportunities for our business model too. And so we're participating at the very beginning, but as it develops, it creates a lot of more opportunities for us in the future. So when we see those things developing, that's a good thing from our perspective.

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Thomas Richard Sykes, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Head of Business Svcs Co. Research & Industry & Leisure & Transport Research [23]

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Many thanks. Good morning Tom Sykes with Deutsche Bank. Just 3 questions please. First is on the consumer margin, looked like it was up less in H2 on a bigger increase in revenue. So I was just wondering why the drop through was a bit lower in consumer in H2. So the question on FTE, is I think labor costs were up by 6% on an FTE increase of 1 and assumes some of that is the incentives that maybe you've spoken about. But what is your sort of wage increase level and the investment in higher -- that's higher paid people? And then thank you very much for putting the slide up on CapEx. But just obviously your internally generated software number has gone up quite considerably the last couple of years. I just wondered what proportion of that is actually personnel costs? I presume the larger percentage and what can you say -- what proportion of your software development costs, you're actually capitalizing please.

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [24]

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So let's take consumer margin. Clearly, for the year as a whole, we had quite a lot of new products launch in the second half. So we saw more marketing in the second half and particularly more in the final month or so of the year. And so that was really driving the consumer margin position. On FTE, the 1%, what you are seeing is, we've had quite a broad productivity drive in the Company, we've trained close to and certified close to 1,000 people on Lean Six Sigma. We've had a robotic process automation program, which is developing through the business, which is really helping us to scale without the need to add total heads. And you're seeing that really and the benefit that we're able to invest more back in the business. Salary growth includes incentives and obviously what you're seeing as you automate perhaps some of the more routine roles, the average cost per employee increases a little bit faster than the overall cost. But those programs we're putting in place, we think are sustainable to be able to drive growth on more through technology rather than through headcount growth.

On CapEx, I know there has been some comment around how our CapEx and depreciation has changed over the last few years. I think if you were to look back to FY'11, what you're seeing is our CapEx as a percentage of revenue has varied from 8% up to 10% down to 7% up to 9%. And if you did the same trend line on depreciation, you'll seen it follows a similar trend, but with about a 3- to 4-year delay. So it's been a very normal in that range. And what you've seen in this last few years is much more of our focus has been on infrastructure, but particularly product development and you've seen the benefit that we're seeing there through our growth rates. You'll see again continue to focus on that in the year ahead. Internally capitalized software will be a big part of that and a portion of that clearly is as our people costs.

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Thomas Richard Sykes, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Head of Business Svcs Co. Research & Industry & Leisure & Transport Research [25]

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Could you say approximately what proportion of your software costs you're actually capitalizing because there's obviously differences within software companies about whether they capitalize all of it in expense through the P&L. So just trying to get a feel for what the total software development costs for you as a group would be and what proportion you're capitalizing?

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [26]

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So there's no rule of thumb there, Tom. You look at each individual product and you're seeing are you -- is it more like maintenance to CapEx that would be through the P&L, are you significantly enhancing the value of the asset, then we would capitalize that, and in a world of agile development, you're doing both big platform, product development and also agile feature enhancement. And it varies any individual product and every individual, yes; I won't give any individual guidance on that.

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Operator [27]

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And we have a question from Brett Huff from Stephens. Please go ahead.

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Brett Richard Huff, Stephens Inc., Research Division - MD [28]

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My first question is on decisioning. $1.3 billion business growing and I think a remarkable 14%. I'm curious what the key drivers or I guess other word would be use cases are for the success of Ascend and also for the 50% fairly quick upgrade from old systems to the new PowerCurve systems in the UK and I guess this PowerCurve success in general. Is there a killer app or a vertical that is really driving that uptick that we should watch?

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [29]

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Well, I think the figure that I referenced for Power Curve, 60% growth gives you a good indication of -- we have talked to over a number of years about the power of that platform. I mean, if there's one killer app in the whole suite, it's called Strategy Manager, which is by far and away probably the most flexible best platform for large scale decisioning that is used across some Tier 1 and Tier 2 clients and we have that as a core component of pretty much every module that we have. So when we introduce things like collections, we have that embedded as part of it and people are very familiar with it.

One of the great things about our products is that if you are sitting in a risk department and you are using them, they are configurable by the user. So by the risk professionals they can actually design their strategies and they can make changes without actually having to involve internal IT department. And that's a big, big difference. It's always been one of the advantages that we have. Of course, you know it works, it's robust, it is a large scale, very -- a huge number of the risk community worldwide is very familiar with this platform and it has tremendous reputation. So I think that's part of the reason there. And we're doing really well in every territory with it.

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [30]

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I think I will add, the power of the integration of our tools as well is really starting to land. So you saw us talk about the cross-sell in the North America market where we have a lower installed base on PowerCurve the cross-sell from Ascend into PowerCurve, and as Brian talked about the cross-sell of our big install base on Power Curve into Ascend. So we've always talked about One Experian as being the integration of our products; none of our competitors have the breadth of capability in the different markets that we have -- they have to partner with other companies to do that. We can bring the power within our single company to bear in and increasingly we're seeing that, that's what clients want.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [31]

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I think the final point, I would add is that, one thing that goes across all of our products like Power Curve, CrossCore, Ascend, is just a deep, deep understanding across the organization of not just how credit risk and authentication customer management works, but really a deep, deep understanding of how people within those parts of the organization use products and what they do on a day-to-day basis? So they designed really closely with that user in mind. That's why they're so successful. Kerry, do you want to have anything to that?

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [32]

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No. That's perfect.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [33]

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Does that answer to the question, Brett?

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Brett Richard Huff, Stephens Inc., Research Division - MD [34]

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You mentioned, I think, lead gen with a $50 million business, which sound like a success so far and then you talked $110 million run rate for IdentityWorks and CreditMatcher and I kind of put all those to similarly together. If we were to look at that $160 million or so, does that come out of the consumer TAM that you articulated on your earlier slides or is it a mix of [similar] information, identity. I'm just trying to figure out kind of where we are from a share point of view trying to see what that $160 million is out of what TAM?

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [35]

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So I guess I would put it in 2 categories. So if you think about the identity protection market in North America, we've said we think the total market is about $2 billion. So clearly, we've got a little under 5% of that market. The lead gen market we sized that a year or so ago at $3 billion; we thought it would go to $7 billion. Again, we've got a very small part of that market today. It's a rapidly growing market. So we see a long runway and a lot of brand resonance with our clients in both of those 2 markets, Brett.

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Rajesh Kumar, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [36]

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Rajesh Kumar from HSBC. Three if I can. Just on PowerCurve piece, you very hopefully gave a 60% growth figure. But you also mentioned that some of the legacy platforms you're retiring at the moment. So when you think of your overall growth in B2B space, there is a component of selling into new customers, new products, there is a retirement rate and then on top of that you are adding more modules in existing contracts. So if we were to look at your growth run rate, how would you split between the 3? Don't need exact figures, just an order of magnitude to help us think about the growth equation going forward? Let's take one by one.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [37]

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That is the actual growth number for the year because PowerCurve is 1 product within our decisioning suite that's growing strongly. We have legacy products, which as we said, we are retiring like, Transact, Probe, Tallyman; we don't sell Tallyman anymore. We actually sell PowerCurve Collections. We still have installations in Tallyman; people love it, it's a bit old, but -- so some of those legacy products are declining, but it's being massively outstripped by the growth that we're seeing in the replacement modules and a lot of the time it's actually people who are upgrading from Tallyman to PowerCurve Collections, from what was strategy manager to PowerCurve -- strategy manager to PowerCurve originations. So we're seeing in some ways a continuation growth has been but product by product, you see big variations overall the growth is really strong.

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [38]

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I think and probably the easiest way to do Rajesh is just to look at Decision Analytics within decisioning. So we have a great year on Decision Analytics this year, it grew 19% percent globally. And for a business that's close to (inaudible) to grow at that level, you can see there's a lot of new client wins in our product portfolio there.

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [39]

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And finally the only 2 markets that really are of any scale replacement upgrading someone from Transact or Tallyman to our new suite certainly the UK and Europe, EMEA, it's not North America, it's not Latin America and it's not Asia Pacific. So you can think a little bit in terms of our opportunities and what's going on when you look at those other markets you get a good flavor of new sales versus just upgrades.

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Rajesh Kumar, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [40]

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So if you think of the growth then inferring from what you've just said, if I say 1/3 of the growth is coming from upgrades, 1/3 of the growth is coming from new customers coming on the platform and 1/3 from upselling, would that be a fair characterization? Or is it largely due to more contracts and upselling more modules into?

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [41]

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That level of growth -- the majority of the growth is coming from new penetration into new clients or new modules into new clients. I think what you're seeing is think of the power of our data just has a lot of option value for clients if they can get the technology to use it better. What are our products are really doing is unlocking that option value for clients and as technology is enabling that the demand is stronger.

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [42]

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And then getting back just to close the point on FTE that we had from over here, in terms of implementing these products and the new technology architectures that we're using, we've taken a number of mandates to implement these products and we've cut them in half, we've cut them by 75%, so our ability to do throughput on these implementations is drastically increased, with our new technology, architectures and our productivity measures that we've been putting in place and that's helped with our velocity to be able to put more sales on the board with essentially the same amount of FTE.

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Rajesh Kumar, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [43]

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So if you were to launch from more modules, you can add on top of the customers you have sold, i.e., get future growth out of it by adding additional modules to the existing or same plan. Okay. And on the Boost product, what does it do to your competitive positioning of the quality of data you've? In the sense, are there any B2B applications apart from upselling -- you know, cross-selling or lead generation? Are there any B2B applications of getting more data in the system when you do a Boost contract?

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [44]

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It gives us a better higher quality of data, a higher breadth of data and it gives us a competitive advantage.

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Rajesh Kumar, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [45]

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(inaudible) doesn't think you would explore in Brazil while collecting positive data?

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [46]

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I'm sorry, say that again.

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Rajesh Kumar, HSBC, Research Division - Analyst [47]

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Is that -- can that strategy be applied in Brazil when you're going to collect positive data?

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [48]

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Yes. Yes. It can be applied everywhere. And that will be our intention.

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Giasone Ulisse Salati, Macquarie Research - Senior Media Analyst [49]

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Well first of all congratulations (inaudible) create ratings with Boost is an amazing result. I find myself attached to the screen and cheering when somebody gets a better score. Now, with all of the excitement of new products and 9% organic growth out of last year, I feel though a little bit like on the guidance, let's take the midpoint of 7% organic for this year. Are you being conservative? Is there some phasing of product launches? Maybe the impossible question to answer, if you were giving us guidance for 2021, would that be 7% midpoint, 8% or 9%. I'm not even sure I expect an answer -- a direct answer, but you see where I'm going?

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [50]

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We will never make you happy.

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Lloyd M. Pitchford, Experian plc - CFO & Executive Director [51]

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I think we will reconvene back here in a year's time to talk about. I think going into this year with our range of outcomes also on every year, we guide for 6% to 8% and we saw strength from a tough comparator in the fourth quarter and we have outperformed that guidance range. Going into this year, there are range of views from you all in the room depending on your different views of the economic position, we feel confident with the new products we have and we think 6% to 8% is a good range to start a year. I think you've seen the breadth of new product innovation that we've put and the contribution that's making towards our revenue growth and that means we're facing the new year with confidence.

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Ed Steele, [52]

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This is Ed Steele from Citi. Just one question for me, please. Could you give us a flavor for the discussions you're having with banks in Brazil in anticipation of the change to positive data? Are the big banks excited or they a bit wary because of credit spreads could come to pressure and are the entrepreneurs, small businesses, new market entrants eagerly knocking your door to get that data, please?

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [53]

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Kerry?

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Kerry L. Williams, Experian plc - COO & Executive Director [54]

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So the different industry players have different perspectives on positive data. The retailers, which is a very large portion of our business in Brazil, are very excited about it because it's going to make credit available to more consumers and as you'll recall, there is a very pervasive lending environment in the retail sector of Brazil to allow consumers to purchase goods. So the retailers are quite excited about it. The smaller and midsize financial institutions are also very excited about it, and I think the larger financial institutions would be split in internally that some areas of their business would be excited about having access to the data. And I think other areas would be a little bit like, okay, what's this going to do because we have such a large strong position in the marketplace and they'd have a little bit of concern around that. So when you go outside of those 4 or 5 very large financial institutions, you typically have lots of very positive conversations and excitement going on in the marketplace today. And again to remind you those 4 or 5 large financial institutions are 14%, 15% of our total book of business. So the vast majority of our book of business is excited about positive data coming into the market.

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Brian J. Cassin, Experian plc - CEO & Executive Director [55]

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Okay, well, thank you all for your questions and your attention today. And we look forward to seeing you later in the year.