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Serko narrows first-half loss

NZN 25/10/2016 Jonathan Underhill

Serko, the online travel booking company, narrowed its first-half operating loss and said it won't need more capital to reach its target of being profitable in 2018.

The first-half loss before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and impairments was $1.8 million, from a loss of $3.1 million a year earlier.

Trading revenue rose 10 per cent to $7m. Including government grants, total income was $7.6m. Serko's net loss was $2m, down from a net loss of $3.4m in 2015.

The company raised about $9m by selling shares in December last year and had $4.8m cash at hand as at September 30. By the end of March 2017, it expects to have cash of $3m to $4m.

"Based on our current business model, cost and revenue expectations, Serko does not anticipate any requirement for additional capital," the Auckland-based company said.

Revenue growth in the first half was adversely impacted by a stronger kiwi dollar against its Australian counterpart. It will release its complete first-half results on November 23.

Serko shares last traded at 41 cents, having sold in its 2014 initial public offering at $1.10 apiece, a 63 per cent decline. Darrin Grafton and Bob Shaw each own about 17 percent of the company, which grew out of Interactive Technologies, a business they set up in 1994 before creating its main Serko Online product in 2000.

This later became part of Gulliver's Travel Group, which listed on the ASX and NZX before being acquired by Australia's S8 in 2006, which was then swallowed up by MFS. Shaw and Grafton then purchased the Serko assets from MFS in 2007. Chairman Simon Botherway owns about 2.8 per cent of Serko.

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