, the European online directory in which French media conglomerate Vivendi holds a 22.4% stake, yesterday reported a £38.5 million net loss for the year to September 30 (£21.2m last year).

Scoot attributed the widening losses to costs incurred during its European roll-out which will be phased over the next three years. But at odds with Scoot’s desire to project its image as a high-growth dotcom, the company also revealed a 34% fall in underlying sales to £10.1 million.

Nevertheless, ceo Robert Bonnier, famed for his ability to spot silver linings in black clouds, announced: “We are starting to experience a rapid acceleration of operating momentum, with our subscriber base up 36% in the first six weeks of the present quarter alone.”

He also announced an alliance with Vizzavi, a Vivendi/Vodafone-owned mobile internet portal. The deal confers on Scoot the accolade of “preferred directory service”, and the partnership will also involve co-operation on technology and product development.

The market was unimpressed and Scoot shares, which traded at 357.5p in February, fell 2.25p to 83.25p.

News source: The Times