Phone numbers firm struggles

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Life Numbers, which sells telephone numbers that customers can use anywhere and any time, lost pounds 356,000 on sales of pounds 285,000 between floating on the Alternative Investment Market last July and the end of December. Apart from direct costs of pounds 105,000 it spent pounds 535,000 on sales, marketing and administration.

The company's main market is with businessmen and roving salespeople willing to pay pounds 120 plus pounds 3 a month to have a single telephone number.

Life's chairman, Paul Davis, admitted yesterday the concept of personal numbers had suffered from increased competition from other companies entering the market as well as a slower-than-expected take-up of alpha numeric dialling, a system which allows companies to choose a word instead of a conventional phone number.

The results were disappointing, he said, but he anticipated the company would break even this month. Monthly overheads have been cut in half, three executive directors have been shed and an exclusive contract with its supplier has been renegotiated.

The net assets of the company are now less than 50 per cent of the called- up share capital of pounds 650,000, which triggers a requirement to call an extraordinary general meeting. The shares were unchanged at 9p.