Online business aiming to create 200 new posts

E-MARKETING group Infoserve expects to create more than 200 jobs in the North East over the next three years because of the increasing popularity of online advertising which has seen it go back into the black in the last six months.

E-MARKETING group Infoserve expects to create more than 200 jobs in the North East over the next three years because of the increasing popularity of online advertising which has seen it go back into the black in the last six months.

The firm, headquartered in Leeds, is awaiting further funding from its major shareholder David Hood to help spearhead its next stage of expansion, which would include the addition of 50 jobs at the Darlington site by the end of next year.

It has already been reported that the firm has earmarked 60 new positions in Darlington by next spring, which will take its workforce to 200. The firm wants to recruit up to a maximum capacity of 350 workers at the site by 2012.

Infoserve revealed in a trading statement that sales reached more than £3m for the six months to September 30, up from £2.6m during the same period last year. This resulted in a small pre-tax profit compared to a loss of £377,000 last year.

Infoserve said that many of its plans relied on a cash injection but sources close to the firm are confident that Mr Hood will now provide around £1m to fund the growth.

The company said: “The group has recently attempted to raise funds to grow the business and cover working capital commitments, and has approached a number of existing shareholders and new sources of finance.

“However, it has been unable to raise any funds from those meetings and consequently the group is continuing its discussions with its major shareholder David Hood.

“These discussions are focusing on Mr Hood providing the group with the necessary finance in order that the group may continue to trade at the current levels of growth.”

The business provides online search listings for people looking for companies providing local products and services plus conventional website design services.

Infoserve, which has been trading for 10 years, said that the demand for its services had rocketed this year. Sponsored links on search engines

Infoserve works with industry giants Google and Yahoo to provide services and it believes it is well placed for further growth as firms continue to realise the potential of e-marketing.

Chief executive Steve Barnes said: “I am confident the firm will be able to continue with its growth plans over the coming years, with Darlington providing a lot of opportunity for expansion.

“It’s fair to say that we have had a tough time of it. However, people are now beginning to harness the power of the web in all sorts of ways, which gives me much optimism for the future of our business.”

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