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May 23, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Desperate measures have been proposed, as Standard Platforms Holdings Plc’s pre-tax losses broke ?1.0m for the 18 months to September 30 1993. The Blackburn, UK-based image storage and retrieval systems specialist is planning a rights issue, loan stock conversion, a capital reduction, a share option scheme and major board changes, in an a desperate attempt to stay afloat. Indeed, so dire is its position, that rejection by shareholders of any of the resolutions proposed at an extraordinary general meeting on June 9, and the company may be unable to continue trading. The villain of Standard’s piece has been DocuFile, the US subsidiary, bought in June 1990, to develop Standard’s customised software into an off-the-shelf product for the US market, targeted at hospitals and clinics. The company floated on the Unlisted Securities Market to fund this venture, but the product never took off and heavy losses were incurred, and eventually DocuFile was dumped in February 1993, for a total loss of around ?1.25m. Standard Platforms Ltd, the other subsidiary, suffered as the senior management was embroiled in the DocuFile saga. An unfocused sales policy and the failure of the expansion into general imaging systems necessitated massive restructuring in mid-1993, closing the Andover office and halving the workforce, but this was not enough. Net liabilities of ?574,000 and the failure to find a merger partner has forced the company to try to raise new equity. The capital reconstruction involves the sub-division of 10 pence ordinary shares into one penny share and one deferred nine pence share. The rights issue of 9.9m shares at one penny each, to raise ?450,000 net, is on the basis of a five-for-two stock split at five pence per share, fully underwritten by a group of investors brought together by IDJ Ltd. 3i Plc has agreed to convert its 11% unsecured loan stock of ?300,000 into 3m of the new shares. It also announced the resignations of Peter Stevens, non-executive chairman, and Geoff Davies, engineering director, to follow Robert Astley, managing director, who left on May 16.

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