Egg brings home the bacon

By following a simple recipe of increasing customer numbers and revenues while driving down unit costs, Egg – styling itself ‘Europe’s leading digital financial services provider’ – has battled to deliver while other web businesses have receded into memory.

Egg topped independent financial web rankings in the UK earlier this year and continued the celebrations by cracking on with a European acquisition strategy. Whisk in a sound half-year performance due to be unveiled at its interim results on Tuesday (July 23), and for CFO Stacey Cartwright and chief executive Paul Gratton, Egg should continue to shine.

April 2002 saw Egg’s first profit announcement, with pre-tax earnings of £2.4m for the first quarter of 2002, compared with a loss of £37.9m a year earlier. Operating income increased to £73.7m in the quarter, up 102% on the comparative period in 2001. It attracted 157,000 new customers, taking client numbers over two million.

Launched by Prudential in June 1998, Egg initially offered savings accounts, personal loans and general insurance, but expanded online offerings with the launch of an internet-only savings account in June 1999 and a low-interest-rate credit card in September 1999.

In June 2000, Prudential floated just over 20% of Egg on the London Stock Exchange, valuing Egg at £1.3bn and saw the company become the UK’s first listed online bank.

May 2002 saw the purchase for £3.5m of French online financial supermarket Zebank. The deal represented Egg’s first significant foray into the continental European online banking market.

Egg-watchers will be keen for an update on performance and news of any future acquisitions.

Related reading