Dating group Cupid falls into the red on higher marketing costs

Oliver Smith
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CUPID yesterday said distractions had caused the online dating service to post a 56 per cent slump in underlying earnings to £2.6m for the first six months of the year.

On a statutory basis, the firm slipped to a pre-tax loss of £2.8m, compared to a £3.6m profit last year.

Revenues for the group rose to £43.4m, from £38.6m in the same period last year. However, the results include earnings from Cupid’s casual dating sites, which were sold in July and made £26.9m of revenues in the period.

Spending on marketing its sites, which include UniformDating and Canoodle, rocketed 18 per cent to £27.4m.

Edinburgh-based Cupid was hit earlier this year by claims the company created false user profiles to entice new users, allegations that were later disproved by a review conducted by KPMG.

“We have had a number of distractions in the first half of 2013, however, we have commenced a streamlining and refocusing of the business, which will provide us with an excellent opportunity going forward to take more of the opportunities the sector has to offer,” said Cupid chief executive Bill Dobbie.

Investors fell out of love with Cupid yesterday, as its Aim-listed shares dropped 1.5 per cent to close at 64p.