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May 28, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:58pm

STRUGGLING WAKEBOURNE TRADING SUSPENDED, LOOKS FOR BUYER

By CBR Staff Writer

Time has run out for Wakebourne Plc the integrated computer services group based in Hanworth, UK which was placed in administrative receivership on Thursday evening last week. The personal computer, network equipment and application software reseller will continue to trade under the direction of receivers Ernst & Young until the future of the business is decided. Ernst is actively pursuing a buyer for the business. Just six months ago, Chairman Leslie Warman was warning that the second half of the year was shaping up badly and that initiatives to increase trading activity were taking longer than expected, but he still managed to put a brave face on proceedings by stating that the board was cautiously optimistic. Emergency measures had been put in place by early 1996 as the company closed its Belgian subsidiary, Wakebourne NV, and sold off its two loss making accounting software divisions to generate cash. The familiar mantra of concentrating on core activities was duly wheeled out and unveiled as the new group policy. Warman stated his intention to take forceful action, instigating a strategic review of company practices and laying off 15% of the workforce. A new finance director, Paul King, was appointed direct from accountants Touche Ross & Co and Andrew Davidson the former director of County NatWest was appointed to a non-executive position on the board. At the half year stage in October, things looked as though they were picking up. Revenues had fallen by 14% but the company was at least reporting profits as opposed to substantial losses as in the prior year, and it appeared that the group’s bankers were willing to support it for at least an additional 12 months. But it all fell to pieces when the company’s shares were suspended from trading at its own request on 12th May. Nobody at the company was available for comment yesterday but a statement is expected shortly.

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