PracticeConsultingWaiting for profit.

Waiting for profit.

In the spotlight: For Scoot FD Ronald Dorjee, profit is the last thing on his mind.

If there’s one thing Ronald Dorjee is not worried about it’s that the company he helped found will make a profit when its annual results are revealed next week. He knows there is no chance of that happening. Chief financial officer at Scoot.com, an online consumer information provider, Dorjee is relaxed about his company’s profit-making prospects, despite the fact last time it posted annual results it revealed a pre-tax loss of £26.6m – dwarfing Scoot’s £18.6m turnover. But like many running Internet companies, Dorjee, who has a substantial shareholding in the firm himself, is playing a long game.’Of course we are a loss-making company,’ he readily admits, before quickly pointing out he believes this is not a problem. Under the stewardship of Dorjee and CEO Robert Bonnier, Scoot is growing dynamically. In July 1999 its market value was put at £244m. In a year this has trebled to £700m. Quite a performance for a firm started just four years ago. Scoot.com provides information to consumers and makes its money from listing fees paid by various suppliers. Users can access the information through the telephone or using the website. In the UK alone (there are also operations in Holland and Belgium) there are 50-60,000 users and Dorjee boasts 70,000 hits per day for the group. But these are due to grow as Scoot finalises a partnership deal with Vivendi to roll out services across France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The rest of Europe, according to Dorjee, comes later. ‘We want to become a business that you can access from anywhere,’ he says. As for profits, analysts say Scoot will be in the black by 2002. ‘We needed to spend a lot of money on marketing and setting up call centres. We are investing in the long term,’ says Dorjee. And he is confident shareholders will be satisfied when they see the annual results on 17 January. ‘Of course people are expecting profitability but I think as long we can show trends are towards profits in each country there’s no issue.’

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