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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK


Business: The Company File

eXchange losses treble - shares rise

The UK's second largest Internet flotation remains confident

Internet-based financial services firm eXchange Holdings has reported its losses more than trebled in the first half of 1999.

The company, the second-largest Internet float in the UK, made a loss of £2.8m compared with £0.8m in the same period last year.

The results and news of a new mortgage operation were enough to send eXchange shares up from 173p to 177p by 1500 (1400 GMT).

This is still well below their float price last month of 200p, and the 226p they rose to in their first few minutes of trading.

The slump mirrors that of the UK's largest Internet float, Freeserve, whose shares have fallen below the price at which they placed, standing at 139.5p at 1521 (1421 GMT) on Thursday.

e-mortgage launch imminent

eXchange chief executive Paul Lindsey said the period had seen unprecedented activity, with the company listing in August, launching its consumer service, moneyeXtra.com, and moving its business-to-business service online.

Business had performed "well in line with plan" with the consumer service having 101,000 users in August, up 33% from June. They generated 1.5m pages views.

But its revenue grew to £8.8m from £8.2m. Online service revenue rose to £7.2m, from £6.1m.

"We are making rapid progress in building the breadth and content of our services and are close to launching our e-mortgage intermediary service, emfinance.com," he said.

The service is ahead of schedule for launch by the end of October.

It says that the subsidiary will be the first UK mortgage packager to process applications and offer loan approvals online.

It is backed by £1m start-up cash and the group said it would continue to make significant investment in its business for the foreseeable future, through organic growth, acquisitions and alliances.

Discussions are progressing with organisations in a number of countries over international expansion, the company said.



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