Borland loses dollars 56m in latest quarter

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BORLAND, the Californian software company, has announced a dollars 56.8m (pounds 37m) pre-tax loss in the three months to the end of December. This compares with a dollars 535,000 profit in the last quarter of 1991, writes Tom Stevenson.

Borland, best known for its database management programs, warned in December that it was suffering from a fierce price war that had spilled over from hardware manufacturers to suppliers of computer software.

There was a dollars 25m provision to cover the cost of reducing the workforce by 15 per cent and writing off the value of facilities and software technology.

In addition to the write-offs selling costs rose 12 per cent despite a drop in the level of sales, thanks to expensive marketing drives for new products.

Research and development costs were more than a third higher after the introduction of a new generation of products for the windows operating system.

Borland's shares, which are 80 per cent owned in the US, ended yesterday at pounds 12, down 75p. A year ago they were trading at pounds 45 but they have fallen steadily since then as the market worried about large competitors like Microsoft muscling in on Borland's niche software markets.

In the nine months to December, Borland lost dollars 54.3m before tax compared with a loss of dollars 83.5m in 1991, when the company took a dollars 116m charge to cover rationalisation of its recent acquisition, the loss-making rival Ashton-Tate.