Cupid eyes ‘social’ sites as profits leap by third

Bill Dobbie said a 'one size fits all' strategy no longer applied. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Bill Dobbie said a 'one size fits all' strategy no longer applied. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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Dating website operator Cupid is confident of delivering another year of “healthy” growth after announcing a 31 per cent jump in annual profits.

The Edinburgh-based firm, which owns sites such as Be Naughty and Uniform Dating, is aiming to grow its presence with the launch of “social discovery” sites that help people connect to others who share their interests, for example music or sport.

Chief executive Bill Dobbie said: “A ‘one size fits all’ strategy no longer applies, as niche sites in the field of social discovery are emerging. We’ve responded to that by launching Canoodle, and we’ll be launching Yolo – which stand for ‘you only live once’ – later this year.”

He added: “We are confident that the business is well positioned for another year of healthy revenue growth, profitability and cash generation.”

The group has spent £21.7m on acquisitions since it floated on Aim in 2010, and while Dobbie said there were no deals in the pipeline, “we continue to look for those that we think may have international expansion capabilities”.

Pre-tax profits rose to £9.2 million for 2012, up from £7m the previous year, as revenues soared 51 per cent to £80.9m.

Cupid rejected claims aired by the BBC last month that customers had been encouraged to buy subscriptions after receiving messages from “fake” users, and Dobbie said the firm has a ten-strong team that detects and closes down suspicious profiles.

The board proposed a final divi of 3p, to be paid on 2 July.

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