Opera Software Triples 3Q Loss, Despite Sales Gain

Opera reported a loss of 1.68 million kroner ($267,000) for the July-September period, compared with a loss of 559 million kroner in the same period last year.

The Oslo, Norway-based company, which went public in March, said sales rose to 24.6 million kroner ($3.9 million) from 18 million kroner a year ago.

Shares of Opera were down to 8.89 kroner ($1.41) on the Oslo stock exchange.

The increase in revenue was tagged to sales of its mainstay Web browser. Sales of the browser increased by seven times to reach 1.7 million for the quarter. Revenue was also up because more wireless operators are including the company's mobile version on handsets.

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But the increased sales have meant more money to pay for the company's expansion, including increasing the number of its workers by nearly 45 percent to 182 by the end of the quarter, the company said, adding that higher marketing costs and operating expenses were partly to blame for the quarterly loss.

Opera is the third-largest browser used by consumers to navigate the World Wide Web, although its share is tiny to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape. The browser has been praised by users for being compact and fast, and it is increasingly being used on mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

For the first nine months of the year, Opera reported a net profit of 60.6 million kroner ($9.62 million), compared to a net loss of 3.7 million kroner the same time last year.

For the rest of 2004, Opera said that costs are expected to slow, but warned a loss would likely continue into the fourth quarter although revenues were seen as increasing.

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