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Lastminute enjoys 'solid' quarter

Lastminute enjoys 'solid' quarter

Recent acquisitions have helped online travel agent Lastminute.com to unveil lower-than-expected losses for the last three months of 2004.

Earnings before tax and depreciation saw a loss of £1.8m ($3.3m), but some analysts had expected a £4m loss.

The purchase of five firms last year, including Med Hotels and First Option, helped lift total transaction values by 80% to £264.4m.

Lastminute said it had made a "solid" start to the year.

Shares in the firm closed 6.25 pence ahead at 113 pence after the announcement.

The firm sells flights and hotel bookings over the Internet, and also from booths at railway and tube stations.

Chief executive Brent Hoberman said the company had produced a "solid set of results" and that its "cost reduction plans remain on track".

However, Peter Smedley, an analyst at Bridgewell Securities, was less impressed.

"While there may well be a relief bounce today, we would remind investors that the first quarter is seasonally the least significant," he said.

"Progress in the first quarter is simply not sufficient at this point to give comfort on full-year numbers."


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