London Bridge racks up losses

London Bridge racks up losses

London Bridge Software has reported a loss before tax of £51.4 million for the year-ended December 2003 as a result of falling sales and charges against business write-downs and redundancies.

The UK company, a supplier of software and services for credit management systems, took a £52.2 million hit on exceptional charges, including a readjustment in the asset values of previously acquired businesses and other one-off costs. These included a £1 million charge after shedding 80 staff (10% of the workforce) and closing five satellite offices. London Bridge also clocked up a £5.1 million bad debt in resolution of a project management dispute with an un-named bank customer.

Revenues were also hit by the continuing slowdown in bank IT spending. Total sales for the year-end amounted to £62.1 million against £74.1 million in 2001.

Adjusted profits after exceptional charges were £0.7m, compared with £11.2m the previous year.

Gordon Crawford, London Bridge chairman, warns that more cuts could be in store. "Going forward, we will continue to monitor resource levels closely and will not hesitate to take whatever actions are necessary to keep our cost base in line with the level of business demand," he says.

Earlier in the week, London Bridge took an 8.2% stake in AFA Systems under a deal to share product development facilities in India.

On a more positive note, Crawford pointed up the firm's strong cash inflows at the end of the year. The company finished 2002 with a gross cash balance of £23.6m and generated cash from operations of £6.9m. Recurring revenues from e-services and maintenance also grew 15% and now account for 48% of total revenue.

Product deliveries during the year include the browser version of Debt Manager, the client/server version of RMS, the next generation of Vectus for the Web, as well as new Bridgelink services.

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