RealTime IT News

Scoot Raises Expectations

[London, ENGLAND] European business infomediary Scoot.com plc tried to shine a ray of light into the gloom of the Internet industry Friday by insisting it will be profitable by the fourth quarter this year.

However, Scoot used the work "expected" quite frequently in announcing its unaudited results for the 15-month period to the end of 2000. It said its revenue is expected to double, and the firm as a whole is expected to be EBITDA and cash positive by Q4.

By contrast, Scoot had EBITDA losses of US $66 million for the period in review, on group revenue of just US $32 million.

Undeterred, Chairman Dick Eykel observed with approval how everyone at Scoot has worked hard to create what the company believes is a unique value proposition for buyers and sellers. He said he fully expected Scoot to become the premier infomediary in Europe.

Yes, that's another "expected" -- and there is every reason for investors to be wary of high expectations in the Internet industry at this point in time.

Scoot.com has built a directory of over 55,000 businesses in the U.K., and runs joint operations in France, Belgium and Holland with Vivendi.

With US $44 million in cash left in the bank at the end of 2000, Scoot is anxious to expand into the remaining parts of Europe. Chief Executive Robert Bonnier said Scoot would consider signing more deals with local partners and could be expected to expand into Italy, Spain and Germany in the coming months.

As the company admitted, its deepening losses are already attributable to its European expansion, especially when it incurred a substantial charge of nearly US $23 million for goodwill in its July 2000 acquisition of Loot.

Chairman Eykel spoke of Scoot's "improved infrastructure, communication, enhanced business processes and accelerating operating momentum." All of these, he said, are helping the U.K. business to remain on track to be profitable by Q4.

The investors will expect nothing less.