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Baltimore shares dive on widening losses

06 March 2002  |  2599 views  |  0 Baltimore shares dive on widening losses

Shares in Baltimore Technologies have plunged after the Irish security software company reported widening losses for 2001 and set back its projected timescale for break-even from mid-2002 to early 2003.

The net loss for the year to December 2001 is £653 million, up from £97 million the previous year. The loss includes a write-down of £442 million pounds of goodwill, of which £386 million relates to the heavily discounted sale of the Content Technologies virus scanning business.

Baltimore's shares lost 13% of their value on the news, slipping to an all-time low of £0.11. The company is now valued at approximately £59 million, compared with a stock market high of £7 billion in March 2000.

Annual sales rose only marginally by 1.5% to £70.4 million. Sales from continuing operations dropped 31 percent to £39.2 million pounds as clients pulled back from expenditure on Baltimore's core public key infrastructure technology.

Total cash balance at year end was £21.2m (2000: £107.8m).

In a statement, the company says: "In August 2001 we said that we had expected to break even at EBITDA level in mid-2002. Market conditions have worsened since then, and whilst we could cut our investment in technical development to break even, we believe that to do this would diminish the long-term competitive position of this business and would not be in the Company's and shareholders best interests although it will have the effect of delaying our progression to becoming EBITDA positive for six to nine months from Q2 02. With £16.7m cash proceeds from our disposals still to come, we believe that Baltimore has sufficient working capital to cover its needs until then."

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