Alarm bells began ringing for the Scantronic share price in March when it was trading in the mid-eighties.
Even before a trading statement warning of lowered profit expectations in June, it had tumbled to 60p, and a second statement three weeks ago carrying news of soaring borrowings, a departing finance director and no final dividend sent the shares crashing to 26p.
They lost another 6p yesterday as the company unveiled further write-offs on its 1993/4 figures and warned of first-half losses which outside analysts reckon could be anything betweeen pounds 1m and pounds 1.5m.
Relations between Scantronic and its bankers, Barclays, appear to have fallen into such a poor state that Chris Brookes, chief executive, has had to give a personal guarantee for the company's banking facilities.
To get the increased facilities Scantronic's directors, senior management and friends have put up pounds 1.6m for new shares at a knockdown 10p. These will be offered via a clawback to existing shareholders.
Any support from investors must surely require wholesale changes in the boardroom, given the number of warning signs.
Scantronic is a UK leader in its markets with sales of pounds 50m, currently valued at only a few million pounds.
But predators will need as much reassurance as battered shareholders.
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