Advisers bail out Tradepoint

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The Independent Online
Tradepoint, the cash-strapped electronic share exchange, has saved itself from the administrators by raising interim funds of pounds 775,000 and says it will secure long-term financing before the end of next month. The placing of 1.6 million shares was at a knock-down price of 50p each, 33 per cent below yesterday's 75p closing price.

The AIM-listed group was rescued by its nominated advisers, Williams de Broe, this week after admitting that it had failed to secure long-term financing in time to satisfy its bankers. Williams has waived the fee for raising the interim cash, but has renegotiated its warrants in the company on substantially improved terms.

Gary Levin, corporate financier at Williams, said the company clearly needed to raise substantially more cash longer term. That amount is likely to be around pounds 9m-pounds 10m.

Mr Levin played down suggestions that the group would be unable to raise the money in time: "There have been expressions of interest, but we are not that far down the road. We are hopeful of securing something by the end of July. We are in discussions," he said.

Michael Waller-Bridge, Tradepoint's chief executive said: "No one can ever be 100 per cent sure of anything, but we are fully confident." In a complicated restructuring which accompanied the placing, all five Tradepoint directors have agreed not to be paid for two months. Half of their deferred salary will be used to buy Tradepoint shares at 50p each, equal to 5 per cent of the company.

A bonus scheme, based on cash-flow targets, that would have given directors shares equal to 30 per cent of the company, has been scaled back to 5 per cent. Mr Levin said that level was "not appropriate for a company looking for long-term investors".