Cardpoint says rivals will charge for ATMs

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The Independent Online

Cardpoint, the cash machine operator that recently snapped up its smaller rival Moneybox, gave a bullish outlook yesterday after converting 275 free machines acquired from HBOS to charging.

Mark Mills, the chief executive, said the company would meet profit forecasts and was well placed for future growth after the two deals. Analysts forecast pre-tax profits of about £4m for the 12 months to 30 September, surging to £19m in the next financial year.

After suffering severe delays in converting the free HBOS cash machines, which forced Cardpoint to halve its forecast for 2005 profit to £4m a few months ago, it is back on track. The Moneybox acquisition, at £52m, cost less than expected and has boosted Cardpoint's UK machines by 2,780 to 5,500. It has also given it a bigger presence in Germany and a toehold in the Netherlands.

Mr Mills said the negative publicity around charging cash machines, which was generated by a parliamentary inquiry this year, has not damaged business and usage of charging machines has gone up again. He predcted that banks would start charging customers of rivals for cash withdrawals over the next few years.

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