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Online travel agent lastminute.com halved losses for its second quarter ended 31 March 2004. It recorded EBITDA losses of £1.5m compared with £3.1m in the second quarter of 2003.

Total transaction value, based on passenger departure dates, was up more than 90 per cent to £178.8m compared to £92.2m for the second quarter of 2003.

Brent Hoberman, chief executive at lastminute, said: "Strong organic like-for-like growth of 36.2 per cent has been supplemented by key acquisitions in strong gross margin product categories. Industry trends, particularly the offline to online share shift seen in this quarter, continue to move in our favour."

Gross margins improved by 1.1 per cent to 17.3 per cent compared to Q2 2003.

The company forecasts total transaction value between £250m and £280m for the third quarter. The company thinks weak April trading reflects a trend to later booking, which will further benefit trading later in the year.

Lastminute has poached Vince Bourke, one of the founding directors of opodo. Bourke will be global operations director for lastminute.®

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