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Amstrad's em@iler makes a profit

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Amserve - the business behind Amstrad's em@iler phone-cum-email thingy - has finally made a profit.

Four years or so after the Webphone thingamajig was launched to a somewhat sceptical world, those who have maintained their faith in the em@iler have at last seen some financial reward.

In the six months to the end of December the Amserve business moved into the black with a pre-tax profit of £1 million on the back of increased sales worth £6.5 million.

In same six-month period last year the business lost £5.5 million on revenues of £4.2 million.

In essence, the em@iler business model is based on subsidising the sale price of the units with revenue recouped from using the em@iler thingamabob.

So far, 298,000 em@ilers have been sold and registered and, no doubt, it will be hoped that a post Christmas price cut (from £49 to £29) will help boost sales still further.

Last December, the average revenue generated per day was £21,000 (which works out at around £7.6 million a year) with the majority of revenues continuing to come from email and Web access.

Amstrad added that it is "particularly encouraged by the [revenue] contribution from other services such as the downloading of ring tones, games and SMS text messaging".

Ad revenues also continue to grow, with companies such as AOL, BT, Halifax, BSkyB and One.tel all regularly using the service.

Looking ahead, Amserve aims to up revenues by increasing the number of customers and the number of services on offer.

And in the second half of the year, Amstrad intends to introduce a new "third generation product" which "takes us into a new exciting level of technology" and "additional revenue earning functionality". Can't wait.

Shares in Amstrad were up 10.75p (6.12 per cent) at 186.5p in early trading. ®

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