El Sitio's Losses Widen, Revenue Increases

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (03/01/2000) - El Sitio Inc., which along with StarMedia Network Inc. is one of the high-profile Latin America-oriented Web portals, reported a net loss of US$36.3 million in fiscal year 1999, compared to a net loss of $3.5 million in fiscal 1998, the company reported this week.

However, El Sitio's net revenue rose significantly to $6.9 million in 1999, up from $780,000 in fiscal 1998, the company said.

El Sitio lost money, but it also managed to raise over $200 million in capital, thanks to two private placements and its IPO (initial public offering), the company said.

El Sitio, which runs country-specific portals in Spanish and Portuguese for several countries in Latin America, as well as an ISP business, saw its registered users rise from 107,118 in the fourth quarter of 1998 to 633,000 in the fourth quarter of 1999.

The company is one of many established and startup companies betting that the expected Internet boom in the region will become a reality in the coming years.

Latin America had 10.6 million Internet users and $194 million in online sales last year, figures expected to rise to 66.6 million users and $8.3 billion in online sales by 2005, according to U.S. market research company Jupiter Communications Inc.

The net loss for 1999's fourth quarter was $22.4 million compared to a net loss of $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 1998. However, revenue rose dramatically in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1999 to $5.3 million, up from $171,000 in the fourth quarter of 1998.

El Sitio, based in Argentina, can be reached at http://www.elsitio.com/.

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