UK on-line information provider Maid Plc has had a year of spending on infrastructure, but with 14 new offices bedded in by the end of the third quarter, fourth quarter costs have stabilized and results improved. The company saw fourth quarter losses of 1.4m pounds, up from 920,000 pounds last time, on revenue up 63% at 6.7m pounds, but nonetheless a considerable improvement on third quarter losses (CI No 3,043). Losses for the year were still well up at 7.2m pounds from 3. 6m pounds last time although this was explained by the increased infrastructure spending, and revenue was up 57% at 21.4m pounds. Maid now boasts 23 offices worldwide, with seven new offices in North America, four in Europe and three in Asia. Chairman Michael Mander sees the fourth quarter improvement as signs of a real turnaround, further supported by the reduction of cash outflow resulting in the company ending the year with 8m pounds cash. Take-up of the company’s Profound Internet service, launched last March, has been good, Mander said in his statement. The company says in the fourth quarter of 1996, 17% of all usage of the company’s service was via the Internet, and that has already increased to 25% in the first two months of this year. The number of Maid’s corporate customers has grown to more than 3,800 from 1,200, and the company claims high renewal rates at 85%. Profound LiveWire is a new service that applies Maid’s InfoSort data structuring technology to newswires, to enable users to receive a personalized live news feed. The company has also developed Profound for the corporate intranet. Maid has also extended its alliance partnerships beyond the previously announced IBM Corp, EMI Plc, Nokia Oy and CompuServe Inc (CI No 2,978). Last month the company signed an agreement with South African Internet service provider iafrica.com (CI No 3,098) and this month it signed with the South China Morning Post. The company says it is talking with other potential partners. The first two months of this year have seen record usage levels, Mander says. With subscription levels buoyant, costs stabilized and new alliances coming in the pipeline, Mander says the company is well positioned for profitable growth in 1997 and beyond.