Tech boom darling in profit at last

FORMER stock market star lastminute.com yesterday pleased weary investors

The group is expecting to post a pre-tax profit for the three-month period to the end of September, although the figure excludes one-off costs. Shares surged 10% on the news, up 7p to 89p.

Lastminute.com was one of the darlings of the tech boom famed for turning founders Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman into paper millionaires overnight when it floated in March 2000. However, the firm became a symbol of the boom ending when shares slumped below their 380p issue price and carried on falling.

Observers then focused on when and if the company, which sells travel and entertainment tickets through its website, would make a profit. In a statement the group said the total value of items sold on its site increased to £110m during the quarter, compared with £61m in the third quarter and £46.9 m in the comparable period last year.

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