Disposal of MCC unit raises dollars 90m

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The Independent Online
THE administrators of Maxwell Communication Corporation announced their first big US disposal yesterday when they floated Molecular Design Limited (MDL) via a placing that raised dollars 90m.

Other sales by MCC's administrators, Price Waterhouse, are in prospect following Wednesday's go-ahead from the UK courts for an orderly sell-off of assets in the UK and US, which include the American Macmillan publishing house.

MCC has debts of dollars 3.2bn-dollars 3.6bn, and the administrators forecast that creditors will eventually receive between 22p and 43p in the pound, with another 9p dependent on the outcome of litigation against various banks and Maxwell advisers.

MDL is a California-based company that provides specialist software systems and support to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries worldwide.

Alan Jamieson, one of the four administrators from Price Waterhouse in charge of MCC, said the flotation in New York had been pre-sold to institutions, so that no one shareholder held more than 10 per cent of the company. The shares came to the market on a price/earnings ratio of 14.1.

The float will make only a small dent in MCC's debt mountain, but Mr Jamieson said he was glad MDL had been saved, along with 400 jobs.

Price Waterhouse has already agreed to sell Official Airline Guides to Reed Elsevier for dollars 4.5m, and Reed is currently carrying out due diligence on the deal.