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Shares in Affinity Internet slid 13 per cent by late morning as the company report increased turnover and narrowing losses.

Turnover for the three months to the end of March jumped from £5.6 million in 2001 to £19 million in 2002.

Pre-tax losses more than halved from £6.6 million to £2.5 million.

The bulk of the company's UK trading losses - around £460,000 - came from its Internet and commerce divisions.

It also reported that take-up of unmetered Internet access packages by small businesses had been "slower than anticipated" something it claims had contributed to the losses.

However, Affinity reckons that as margins improve so too will market conditions. Affinity says that as the wholesale costs for unmetered dial-up access fall throughout the year it should give it greater room for improved margins.

In total, its Internet business boasts some 1.65 million users, with many of these home users.

Said Affinity CEO Wayne Lochner: "The main priority is to continue to grow and develop the business with sustainable profitability for shareholders.

However, Affinity - which provides branded services for more than 450 customers including Powergen, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Pepsi, HFC Beneficial Bank, WHSmith and Fujitsu UK - acknowledges that the current market conditions remain difficult.

At noon shares in Affinity were down 16p (13 per cent) at 106.5p. ®

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