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Premium Petcare Attacks �10 Billion European Market

Premium Petcare raised funding to create a portal named PetsPyjamas.com, with the aim of taking a substantial bite out of the £10 billion ($16 billion) European petcare market.

Premium Petcare has agreed the funding with leading venture capital group 3i. It plans to build on its existing e-commerce Web site, expanding its range of services to include veterinary advice and pet insurance.

"We are attacking a £10 billion market for petcare in Europe that is as yet untapped by e-commerce," said Charles Fallon, Premium Petcare's co-founder and managing director.

"The competition in pet portals has been developing rapidly in the USA over the last six months with at least half-a dozen startups all attracting funding, but we will be the first for European pet owners and their pets."

Fallon went on to say that Premium Petcare's initial target markets are Germany, France and the UK, which between them account for the majority of petcare sales in Europe.

Premium Petcare has already traded for a full year, clocking up sales of £1.5 million ($2.4 million). In 1999/2000, it expects sales to grow to exceed £5 million ($8 million).

The new investment in Premium Petcare was led by Gordon Hague on behalf of 3i in the north west.

"We first backed Premium Petcare in 1998, providing 3i with the opportunity for a strategic investment into an expanding industry, as well as the chance to support an impressive management team," said Hague.

"This move into e-commerce is a natural progression and will consolidate the company's market position within Europe and enable it to enter a new and exciting phase of development."