Monitise's high operating costs weigh on first half

Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:47am EST

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Mobile banking technology company Monitise Plc said operating costs rose in the first half as it continued to invest in technology and services, and hired more people.

Shares in Monitise fell as much as 7.5 percent in early trading, making it one of the top percentage losers on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Operating costs rose to 44 million pounds ($73.5 million) from 34.8 million a year earlier.

Berenberg analyst Ali Farid Khawaja told Reuters that the company typically announces a big project, which it has not done this time around.

Monitise reiterated its full-year forecast of about 50 percent growth in revenue and a gross margin of above 70 percent.

"I am surprised that the management has not raised its full-year guidance, because just on the run-rate basis they should be able to do more than 50 percent in the full year," Khawaja said.

The company had reported a wider loss for the full-year ended June 30, 2013 as operating costs doubled due to investments in technology and services, and acquisition.

Monitise said on Wednesday that there was increasing demand for its services and thus it planned to continue investments.

The company reported a loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 10.2 million pounds for the six months ended Dec. 31 compared with 14.7 million pounds a year earlier.

Revenue jumped 67 percent to 46.5 million pounds, while gross margin rose to 73 percent from 72 percent a year earlier.

The number of registered end-user customers increased to 28 million from 20 million a year earlier, resulting in a 14 percent jump in subscription revenue excluding licences.

Monitise shares were trading down 6.7 percent at 65.75 pence at 0846 GMT. ($1 = 0.5989 British pounds) (Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)