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Cupid shares up as French sites dispute resolved

SHARES in Edinburgh-based internet dating company Cupid soared 5.6% after the company predicted strong growth in 2013 and said its financial performance was a year ahead of where it expected to be when it floated in 2010.

Meanwhile, The Herald understands that Cupid, which operates Cupidon.com in France, has reached an agreement with the owner of the Cupidon.fr and Cupidon.net websites with whom it had been in dispute. A court judgement had been expected yesterday.

Cupid said revenue and profits for the 2012 calendar year were "substantially ahead of last year" when it recorded a 67% jump in annual pre-tax earnings to £7 million. It said it was performing in line with market expectations for adjusted annual pre-tax earnings of around £15.7m.

Cupid, which operates websites such as Flirt.com and Benaughty.com also anticipates ending the year with £11m in cash.

Cupid's shares closed up 10p at 187p, recovering from a 52-week low of 165p struck earlier this week.

After a stellar start to its stock market life when its 60p listing price quadrupled within 12 months, it has fallen back amid worries about its business model.

Chief executive Bill Dobbie said: "We will end 2012 in a very strong position and we look forward to 2013 and beyond."

Cupid said it has international growth plans for French business AGL and UK operation Uniform Dating, both of which it has acquired since the summer.

The settling of its legal issues in France could ease expansion in that market although the company declined to comment on the matter last night.

Cupid said its financial performance was at least a year ahead of where it expected to be when it floated in June 2010.

Ivor Jones, analyst at Numiz which is Cupid's joint broker, said: "Cupid's share price is climbing a classic 'wall of worry' as investor concerns over the sustainability of the business model are gradually reduced by continued growth and successful execution of acquisitions."

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