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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 16:53 GMT
Egg moves towards profit
Egg graphic
The internet bank Egg has said it reached its breakeven target for the October to December period.


We are confident that our UK business is now sustainably profitable

Paul Gratton
chief executive
Egg
During the year as a whole, Egg slashed its pre-tax losses to 88m in 2001 from 155m a year earlier, in line with expectations.

Egg also reported a 103% rise in operating income.

Last year, the bank's income reached 189m compared with 93m a year earlier.

"We have fulfilled our published commitments at time of flotation to bring the UK business into profitability during the fourth quarter of the year and we are confident that our UK business is now sustainably profitable," said chief executive Paul Gratton.

Entering Europe

Mr Gratton said that 2002 "will be an important year for Egg".

"We are now developing our international business, in France through the acquisition of Zebank and associated distribution partnerships," he said.

In addition, Egg has entered a deal with the software giant Microsoft to "offer digital payments services to their 10 million Hotmail users in the UK", Mr Gratton said.

But Egg's expansion plan relies on support from investors.

They had been keen to see strong performance in the UK towards the end of 2001 before investing more in Egg's international business, analysts said.

Some were concerned about a near doubling in Egg's bad debt provisions to 68m from 37.2m a year earlier.

But Egg insisted its credit quality was "strong, with low and stable arrears levels".

Shares in Egg ended up 3.25p at 143.25p at the close of Monday's trade.

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 ON THIS STORY
Egg Chief Executive Paul Gratton
"Our cost base is one of the lowest anywhere in the world"
See also:

29 Jan 02 | Business
Egg buys French internet bank
21 Jan 02 | Business
Egg launches European expansion
13 Dec 01 | Business
Shoppers help Egg hatch a profit
24 Jul 01 | Business
Egg edges towards profitability
19 Jul 01 | Business
Egg and Microsoft join forces
02 Oct 00 | Business
Consumers shy away from e-banking
02 Oct 00 | Business
Halifax's web banking trouble
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