Tradepoint sees rosy future despite losses

Tradepoint, the share trading company launched nearly two years ago to compete with the London Stock Exchange, sought to shrug off worsening full-year losses yesterday with an upbeat statement on prospects.

The company made a pre-tax loss of pounds 6.09m for the year to 31 March 1997 against a loss of pounds 5.68m for 1995/96, despite comments by the management last year that it hoped to break even by now.

The company avoided administration last month by completing an pounds 11.4m refinancing, which included a boardroom shake-up and the introduction of new shareholders.

Michael Waller-Bridge, chief executive, said the company had reported its best month to date, with July surpassing June by more than 30 per cent in the total value of shares traded and more than 40 per cent in number of trades. The company's goal was to break even within the next year, he said.

The recent reconstruction included a move to "a more traditional board of directors, with non-execs as well as a chief executive". Under the relaunch Mr Waller-Bridge will step down as chief executive, with his replacement to be announced within the next three months.

The AIM-listed company's rescue was led by its advisers and brokers, Williams de Broe, together with Apax Partners, one of three venture capital firms to put up new money. Two other founders of the company, Stephen Wilson and Paul Barnes, stepped down.

Mr Waller-Bridge denied that the Exchange's introduction of American- style order-driven trading in October for the FTSE 100 stocks will hurt Tradepoint: "We very much welcome the introduction of order-driven trading by the LSE. Our exchange has had nearly two years of getting experience of, and familiarity with, this system in London. We regard this as huge opportunity for Tradepoint, as we will be in the mainstream, in terms of trading culture.

"Our commercial arrangements with inter-dealer brokers, together with the roll-out of our plans to offer trading facilities to investors throughout Europe and subsequently in the US, will help ensure Tradepoint continues to thrive," he added.

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