PracticePeople In PracticeQSP suspends shares in shock move

QSP suspends shares in shock move

The board of troubled financial software vendor QSP has requested its shares be suspended from the London Stock Exchange.

As a result, its ordinary shares were suspended, and it is understood the QSP board has reviewed the impact the suspension will have on the adoption of its 2001 Executive Option Scheme, due to be discussed at its EGM planned for 10 October.

A spokesman for the company said the tragic events in the US last month and the market conditions over the last 12 months had caused the shock move.

The board concluded that adoption of the scheme as originally envisaged would be inappropriate in the current circumstances.

Chairman John Bateman, said as the company released its interim results for the six months ended 30/06/01: ‘ 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.

‘This position has significantly deteriorated as a result of recent economic and political uncertainty, which further impacts key vertical markets such as the airline sector, where recent deferral values in this sector alone total almost Pounds 3m.

He added: ‘This additional uncertainty in global markets at this time indicates that we are unlikely to meet current market expectations for the full year.’

The board is in discussions with its bankers who have confirmed their continued support for the group within the existing financing facility. A further announcement will be made soon.

Turnover for the period fell to Pounds 14.5m from Pounds 19.7m, operating losses increased to Pounds 5.6m from Pounds 2.7m in 2000 and loss before taxation increased to Pounds 6.2m from Pounds 3m. Meanwhile, staff numbers at 30 June 2001 had fallen to 495 from 650 compared with the same time last year and net debt doubled to Pounds 15.8m.

However, Bateman confidently predicted the company could turn the corner. He said: ‘During the first three quarters of 2001, we have signed contracts worth Pounds 16.6m, a 40% increase on the Pounds 11.9m signed in the same period last year. The board is confident that, with the right financial and operational structure, the group will be viable and well placed to exploit the strengthening ASP and service revenues already contracted for future years.’

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QSP warns of lower earnings

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