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German Launch Means New Jobs ; In Association With Business Venture Finance Firm Spreads Its Wings in Europe

Oct 23, 2007

By DAVID JONES Business Correspondent

ONE hundred new jobs are on the way for a North Wales- headquartered financial services company after the launch today of its price comparison website in Germany.

It is the first move into an overseas market for which listed on the stock market earlier this year.

But the company, which employs 600 people at its base at St David's Park, Ewloe, is known to be eyeing other opportunities on the Continent including possible launches in France and Spain - although nothing is said to be finalised at this stage.

The expansion of the business is expected to create at least 100 new positions at the Flintshire site over the next 12 months.

Tim Heidfeld, the brother of Formula One driver Nick, is chief executive of the Germany operation which currently has 10 employees in its new Munich office.

Back-up technological support for the group'sGerman- languagewebsite is provided by the group's IT team at Ewloe.

The launch in German is being backed by an intense advertising campaign in that country.

Bosses at said they had chosen to go into the Germany market because they judged it held "huge potential" for the services they are offering.

German consumers are also said to be generally clued up when it comes to using the internet and particularly literate about personal finance matters.

The company said its site offers the most comprehensive selection of car insurance in Germany, listing 250 products from 100 providers.

Germany's population is 82.5 million - 22 million more than in the UK. It is thought that's position as a FTSE 250-listed company will give it added clout with potential German users of its website.

Simon Nixon, chief executive of Group, said: "This is another major landmark in an extremely successful year.

"We have deliberately chosen Germany as the first step of our European expansion in light of the many similarities with the UK market.

"The German online market is well developed and the public is discerning about gaining value from their products and services."

He added: "We are very excited about the opportunity to develop online price comparison in this large and dynamic market.

"Our first product channel is car insurance, where we search the products of 100 providers - this is believed to be around 50% more providers than our nearest rival." shares floated on the market in July priced 170p. Its shares were yesterday 188p, valuing the group at about pounds 935m.

Its website had 64 million visitors and 523 million page impressions last year. in running for top Achievement Wales honour - turn to Page 18

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(c) 2007 Daily Post; Liverpool. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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