RealTime IT News

ebookers Results Much Better Than Expected

[London, ENGLAND] European travel specialist ebookers.com announced Monday that a combination of good results and extra funding that caused a sharp upward correction in its share price.

ebookers.com reported a massive second quarter 2000 sales hike. Q2 sales were $30 million, an increase of 839 percent compared to Q2 1999 ($3.3 million).

At the same time, ebookers.com's chief executive and two other people have invested $6.25 million in the company to tide it over until it can raise an additional $39 million to finance its negative cash flow. The sum needed is significantly lower than the market expected.

There now seems to be no imminent danger of ebooker collapsing, as was suggested in the press (not here) some weeks ago. Its cash balance at June 30 was $22.9 million, $10 million less than at the end of the first quarter, but sufficient to keep the company afloat until the final round of financing is in place.

ebookers.com claims that positive cash-flow could occur as early as Q4 2001 -- much earlier than the market expectation of 2003.

Chief Executive Dinesh Dhamija called the results "excellent" and said they suggested a very rosy future for the company.

"ebookers.com is one of the only genuinely pan-European business-to-consumer Internet companies. It has high sales, high gross profit margins and high average transaction values that are way ahead of key competitors," claimed Dhamija.

ebookers.com operates in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

Recently, it has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy which has enabled its rapid growth, securing a huge increase in site visits. In Q2, it had over 5.6 million visitors, up 40 percent on the first quarter.

With the increase in site visits has come an increase in business, with passenger numbers in the half year up to over 180,000, up from just 9,600 in the same period in 1999. Moreover, ebookers says it leads the industry in gross profit margins per booking -- at 12 percent of reported sales.

ebookers says it is already in "advanced negotiations" with several potential investors and strategic partners, and fully expects to secure the necessary $39 million by the end of the year.