Celsis chief resigns to mount a bid

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The Independent Online
THE CHIEF executive of Celsis yesterday left the troubled manufacturer of contamination test kits to prepare a takeover bid for the company.

Shares in Celsis surged 8.5p to 41p as it announced that Arthur Holden, its chief executive of the past three and a half years, had resigned due to a conflict of interest. "Mr Holden has informed the Board of his interest in exploring options such as acquiring or taking the company private," Celsis said in a statement.

Following the move, Jack Rowell, the former England rugby coach who was previously non-executive chairman, will take over as acting chief executive. Meanwhile Chris Evans, the biotechnology entrepreneur, becomes chairman.

Mark Harris, Celsis' finance director, said Mr Holden's interest in mounting a bid for the company had only come to light in the past few days. However, he added that there was "nothing on the table" yet.

Mr Holden was yesterday understood to be in London attempting to drum up support for a potential offer.

However, his interest may flush out other potential bidders. Mr Harris yesterday revealed that Celsis had received "one or two enquiries" from other companies, although he added that these were "nothing substantial".

Celsis' share price has slumped from over 100p to 32.5p this year as the company has issued two profit warnings. The company yesterday confirmed those warnings by reporting a loss before taxation and exceptional costs of pounds 400,000 for the year to 31 March. Revenues increased by 46 per cent to pounds 16.2m.