Price comparison website saw earnings leap 26% higher last year thanks to a surge in the number of households switching energy providers after the recent round of bill hikes.

Revenues from energy switching trebled in the last three months of the year as the "big six" gas and electricity providers hiked tariffs, prompting consumers to shop around for the best deals.

The group said strong revenues from energy switching and its travel arm offset a slower year for savings revenues, which fell 9% after the state-run Funding for Lending scheme offering banks cheap finance to boost mortgage lending hit deposit rates in the market.

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Insurance business also slowed in the second half of the year due largely to changes made by search engine Google, which it said "penalised" the group.

But overall underlying earnings rose to £84 million, up from £66.5 million in 2012, helped also by the first full year of ownership of (MSE), bought in September 2012.

It said MSE contributed £6.1 million to group revenues and £13.3 million to underlying earnings last year.

Peter Plumb, chief executive of, said: "We invested across the business last year and it paid off nicely."

He added: "We won't stand still - we'll build on our innovation in 2013 by doubling our capital investment for 2014, and bringing market leading services in Travel and Insurance to customers' mobiles and desktops."