QXL.com Posts Strong Results for Quarter, Year

QXL.com (Nasdaq: QXLC), Europe’ s largest online auctioneer, reported increases in revenue, auction volume and membership for its fourth quarter and year ended April 30th.

However, the company’s losses increased during both periods, as the online auctioneer spent money on acquisitions to broaden its reach and compete with U.S.-based rival eBay, Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY).

Revenues — or turnover — for the quarter totaled 2.18 million pounds (3.48 million US$), up 131 percent from the year-earlier quarter. The company attributed the increase to “significant growth in our member base, an expanded selection of merchandise and services offered, and an increase in the number of items listed for auction.”

The operating loss before exceptional items for the quarter was 11.19 million pounds (17.85 million US$). The number of registered users at the end of the quarter totaled 681,000, up 50 percent from the previous quarter.

Moving Toward Goal

“We have undergone a successful initial public offering, expanded both organically and by acquisition, upgraded our technology and moved substantially toward our goal of a non-inventory, agency-based business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer business,” said QXL.com CEO Jim Rose.

QXL shares soared Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange. In the U.S., the company’s ADRs were up 7/8 to 9 3/4 in Wednesday morning trading.

Broadening Reach

During the quarter, QXL made plans to acquire two online auction and e-commerce sites: Sweden’s Bidlet AB, which covers Norway, Denmark and Finland, and Ricardo.de AG of Germany. The acquisitions “put us in a prime position to capitalize on the fast-growing European online auction market opportunity,” said Chief Financial Officer Robert Dighero.

eBay is also trying to take advantage of opportunities in Europe. eBay’s Web sites in Germany and the UK reportedly saw $86.9 million worth of goods change hands in the first quarter. The company earned $6.3 million, or 5 cents per share, in the first quarter, up from $3.8 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, while revenue doubled to $85.8 million.

Mobile Services Planned

QXL said it plans to add wireless services to its offerings over the coming months. In March, the company announced a strategic partnership with Iobox, a mobile Internet portal. QXL plans to use the partnership to allow its members to track the status of their online auctions via mobile phones.

Earlier this month, eBay also announced a plan to make its services available on any mobile device.

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