Interactive and GlobalNet report increased losses

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The Independent Online

The long haul back to stock market respectability for internet companies was further illustrated yesterday when two personal finance internet sites reported increased losses.

The long haul back to stock market respectability for internet companies was further illustrated yesterday when two personal finance internet sites reported increased losses.

Interactive Investor International, which was one of the most popular flotations of the dot.com boom, reported doubled fourth-quarter losses of £4m but said it was on track to move into profit in 2003. The business has net cash of £57m after raising £68m in its February flotation.

Separately, GlobalNetFinancial.com, a rival financial portal which operates the UK-invest site, recorded slightly reduced losses of $15.5m (£10.9m) in the three months to September. However, heavy exceptional charges, including $9.4m losses associated with the failed merger with Telescan, pushed total quarterly losses to $27.1m. GlobalNet said its core UK-invest site recorded 34 million page impressions in the quarter and that the business has net cash of $51m. Its shares, 294.5p in March, were unchanged at 27p.

Interactive Investor, whose float was 26 times subscribed and attracted 27,000 private investors, blamed market sentiment rather than any flaw in its business model for the fall in its shares. The shares were priced at 150p in February and hit a peak of 415p within a few days. Yesterday, they ended flat at 39p. "Its a market issue rather than a consumer issue," Tom Carruthers, the chief executive, said.

Although operating costs fell in the three months to September, losses increased because of a £1m cost associated with the company's stock market flotation in February and a £2m investment in a second data centre.

Over the year to 30 September, operating losses totalled £19.5m compared with £6.4m in the previous year. Revenues were £6m compared with £2.5m.

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