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lastminute.com sees record profit

And they've got a new operations man to go with it...
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

And they've got a new operations man to go with it...

Dot-com darling lastminute.com has turned in a solid performance for the third quarter and is now back in the black, according to results out today. The company's pre-tax profit for the quarter was £1.6m, compared to a loss of £4m for the corresponding period last year, while revenue in Q3 topped £62m, representing a massive 645 per cent increase from the company's 2002 Q2 equivalent, which totalled a meagre £8.4m. Subscriber numbers are also up, with over 7.5 million individuals receiving the lastminute.com newsletter, 34 per cent of whom went on to buy from the online leisure and travel agent. lastminute.com's Lifestyle section has been making a positive contribution to the results, with one of its biggest sellers being tickets to see aging ex-Beatle Paul McCartney on tour recently. Prospects for the final quarter of the year are looking promising too: the company has a healthy £61.1m of forward business already on its books, with the lion's share set to unwind in Q4. Allan Leighton, lastminute.com's chairman, said in a statement: "The group has performed exceptionally well against a difficult backdrop for the travel sector of post-Sars, post-Iraq and general war and terrorism concerns." Incoming chief operating officer Ian McCaig, who will head up operations across the lastminute.com group, will doubtless be buoyed by the company outlook. McCaig's CV includes a stint at Telewest Communications and several roles at Finland's Nokia, including working as VP of the company's 3G operations division. McGaig's appointment will allow lastminute.com's co-founders Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox (pictured) to take a step back from the day to day management of lastminute.com.
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