Ocado won't turn a profit until 2014, says adviser

Banks offer differing forecasts for delivery service.

British online grocery Ocado is not going to post a profit until 2014, according to one of the banks advising the loss-making retailer on its £1bn flotation, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

The forecast by HSBC analyst Jerome Samuel says that Ocado - which has already run up losses totalling £343m until now - will continue to make losses until 2013 before going on to make a pre-tax profit of £25m in 2014 and £56m in 2015.

In contrast, other banks acting as advisers for the Ocado float have projected better figures. Numis, for instance, expects the retailer to make a pre-tax profit of £8m in 2011 and £72m in 2014.

Samuel has also questioned the £1bn-plus valuation of Ocado mooted by other advisers and argued that it is difficult to value the business, according to the Telegraph report. He has been quoted as saying that different valuation methods produce different results, ranging from £775m to £1.1bn.

The analyst in his pre-floatation research report has put a price tag of £750m-£800m on the company which plans to sell around £400m of shares.