Deutsche Bank and UBS Warburg have agreed to fund the development of the first two modules for Rolfe & Nolan's next-generation project Merlin software suite.
The Merlin project is considered critical to the future success of Rolfe & Nolan, which reported a £0.7 million loss before tax for the six months to August 2001. The results reflect a difficult period for the vendor, which replaced its chief executive John Lodge in September amid board-level concerns about the company's ability to win client support and funding for the Merlin project.
Rolfe & Nolan says it has now completed the 'Define Stage' of the Merlin development programme, specifying both the functionality and technology architecture framework, with the input of four global banks.
Two of these banks - UBS Warburg and Deutsche Bank - have agreed, in principle, to fund the development of the first two major functional modules in the new software suite. Negotiations have begun on detailed terms and conditions, and the vendor says it hopes to reach a formal agreement with the banks by early next year.
Rolfe & Nolan says that future modules within the project (and associated technical architecture) will be developed individually subject to separate funding arrangements on a module by module basis.
In a statement, the company says: "The board considers that this approach substantially reduces the financial risks associated with the project without prejudicing the objective to develop a single system to replace the group's existing products, which remains the board's strategic goal. It will also enable the company to sell modules as they are developed to other customers.