Lastminute.com revisits profitability

The online vendor of gifts and spontaneous holidays is back in the black, and confident about the future

E-tailer Lastminute.com announced on Tuesday that it made a pre-tax profit in the second quarter of this year, putting it on track for full-year profitability before goodwill deductions.

Excluding tax, goodwill writedowns and exceptional expenses, Lastminute.com achieved a profit of £1.64m in the three months to 30 June, the third quarter of its financial year. This compares favourably to the loss of nearly £4m that it made for the same period a year ago.

This is only the second time that Lastminute.com has achieved a quarterly profit -- the first being between July and September last year.

These latest profits were driven by a large increase in the number of transactions made at the site. In the three months to 30 June, Lastminute.com processed bookings worth a total of nearly £151m, compared to £61m for the same period last year.

Allan Leighton, the chairman of Lastminute.com, told investors that the future was looking bright, even though the travel sector is still suffering from terrorism concerns and the Sars virus outbreak.

"Summer bookings have started strongly for the key quarter four, and we remain confident of a positive outcome for the full year," Leighton said.

More than 7.5 million people have registered with Lastminute.com since it was set up during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. Around 2.1 million of these people have made at least one purchase through the site, according to Lastminute.com's third-quarter results.

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