ONLINE travel shop has offered hope to beleaguered investors by predicting its core business would be profitable within a year.

The forecast came as lastminute, founded by Oxford graduates Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman, reported a rise in subscriber numbers and a slight narrowing of net losses for the first three months of this year.

Thousands of investors will now be looking for further evidence of a turnaround.

Fuelled by the hype surrounding Internet firms, lastminute listed at 380p but began this week at just 60p. It slipped a further four per cent yesterday as investors secured profits following recent gains.

But chief executive Brent Hoberman predicted that the combined UK and French operations would now be profitable within the next 12 months.