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Lastminute losses widen as
profitability moves closer

LONDON - Lastminute.com has reported widened full-year losses as a result of costs relating to acquisitions, but remains on track to move into profit in the UK and France within the next six months.

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Full-year losses were up 50% to £53.7m, from £35.8m for 2000, as a result of goodwill charges of £14.7m following the group's acquisition of Degriftour Group and Urbanbite.



The loss also includes a share of the operating losses from its joint venture operations in Australia, South Africa and Spain.



The group's loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell by 11.8% to £33.6m from £38.1m in 2000.


Turnover for the year more than quadrupled on 2000's figure to £18.4m from £3.7m, while gross profit grew to £17.2m from £3.3m.



The company said gross profit comprised commission earned on sales of products and services sold such as airline tickets, hotel room reservations, package holidays, tickets to events and gifts. The company said, however, that it increased the income it earned from sponsorship and advertisements placed on the websites.



Brent Hoberman, Lastminute chief executive, said: "Following another year of exceeding expectations, we continue on track to deliver operational profitability in our UK and French businesses in approximately six months' time."



He added: "Trading for the new financial year has started in line with the board's expectations and will show considerable growth over the year that has just ended. The business is well positioned for the longer term."



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