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.

News Around the Web