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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 February, 2003, 09:48 GMT
Egg eyes overseas expansion
Egg credit card
The online bank Egg has unveiled reduced losses and said it is exploring further overseas expansion.

Losses for 2002 shrank to 16.6m ($26.5m) from 87.8m the previous year.

Profits at its UK business were a better-than-expected 34.8m but the costs of launching its credit card in France pushed the company into the red.

Following Egg's entry into the French market, the firm said it was looking at further moves abroad, including expanding into the US.

"We remain committed to developing Egg as a global business and have been researching different territories throughout 2002," said chief executive Paul Gratton.

"Specifically, we have been exploring potential entry strategies for the US market."

Rapid growth

In the UK, Egg added 610,000 net new customers last year, giving the firm a total customer base of 2.6 million.

Egg said the UK operations were now "sustainably profitable" and added that its credit quality remained strong with lower arrears rates than usual in the industry.

The company said its French expansion was going well, with 69,000 people applying for its credit card since it was launched in November last year.

Egg now plans to launch a loan account in France later this year.

Shares in Egg were down 0.25p at 113.25p during early trade on Monday.

Egg was floated on the stock exchange in June 2000 and is 79% owned by the insurance giant Prudential.

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