LONDON — Lastminute.com PLC Thursday recorded a narrower third-quarter net loss before goodwill amortization on increased sales and steady advertising revenue.
The online travel-services provider posted a net loss of 8.9 million pounds ($12.8 million or 14.1 million euros) for the quarter ended June 30, compared with a loss of 9.3 million pounds for year-earlier fiscal third quarter.
The London-based company said it is on track to break even in the U.K. and France at an operational level in nine months time.
The company said its sales surged to 4.4 million pounds from one million pounds a year earlier. Its pretax loss widened to 12.9 million pounds from 9.3 million pounds.
Lastminute.com recorded a loss per share for the quarter of 7.30 pence, compared with 6.17 pence, while its departure-based total transaction value more than tripled to 29.3 million pounds from 9.6 million pounds.
Total transaction value is the net price at which products or services have been sold and is calculated with reference to the departure date of customers, as opposed to the booking date.
For the fiscal nine months, lastminute.com said its pretax loss widened to 42.6 million pounds from 26.3 million pounds, while sales increased to 11.4 million pounds from 2.3 million pounds.
The company recorded a loss per share for nine months of 24.97 pence, narrowing from 32.53 pence, while its departure-based total transaction value for the period jumped to 77.3 million pounds from 21 million pounds.
Lastminute.com said that, in a seasonally weak quarter, it increased its gross margin by almost a third to 14.1%, while the number of registered subscribers at the end of the period reached 3.5 million, a 12% increase on the quarter.
It said advertising and sponsorship revenue continued at similar levels to the previous quarter, despite a global downturn in advertising spending.
During the quarter, its expanded product range, improved supply pricing and site improvements helped increase the rate of conversion of visitors to customers to 12.4% from 11% in the second quarter of the year, it said.
The company expects its total transaction value in the fourth quarter to exceed 45 million pounds, putting its full-year figure above 120 million pounds. It said the fiscal fourth quarter has started well with July total transaction value up 60% on June.
Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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