Troubled financial software company QSP went into administrative receivership yesterday three weeks after its shares were suspended from the stock exchange.
Hundreds of staff are understood have lost their jobs, but neither the company nor receivers Smith & Williamson would comment on exact numbers.
However, AccountancyAge.com understands a core of around 50 staff has been retained at the headquarters of the Newcastle-based company, which employed nearly 500 people worldwide.
QSP staff attending the Softworld Accounting & Finance show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre walked out as they faced the prospect of redundancy. Confused delegates were greeted by a dark, abandoned stand with computers switched off and marketing literature left behind.
Chairman John Bateman had admitted that the company’s financial position had deteriorated significantly when interim results were released last month showing operating losses of £5.6m for the six months to 30 June. QSP shares were suspended from the stock exchange on 24 September.
‘The challenging trading conditions that prevailed through 2000 have continued into 2001, causing deferrals in software licence sales in all operations, particularly in our main UK market,’ he said.
The receivership occurred as rumours circulated that Schroder Investment Management, a major shareholder in the group, was preparing a bid for the beleaguered company.
A statement issued by Smith & Williamson said: ‘Peter Mills and Neale Jackson of Smith & Williamson were appointed as administrative receivers of QSP Group plc and QSP Solutions Limited on 17 October as a result of a request made to the companies’ bankers by the directors.
‘This request was made as a result of the directors being unable to raise sufficient funds to facilitate ongoing trading. The receivers are aware that many customers are reliant upon the company’s data centre for their financial management and are endeavouring to establish a funding line from those customers to meet the short term costs of data support. However, this will only be possible with 100% customer support.’