Investors jolted by loss scare at Tadpole

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The Independent Online
Tadpole Technology, computer notebooks maker, jolted investors yesterday with a warning that first quarter losses would be worse than expected.

Shares in the Cambridge-based company tumbled 25 per cent from 334p to 252p as directors brought forward the trading announcement, which was due to be made at the AGM tomorrow.

Tadpole's share price had softened by around 10 per cent since the beginning of 1995, and this was the spur for bringing forward the statement.

The group said it had budgeted for losses in the first quarter of £1.8m (itself news to the City), but that it now expected a greater deficit of £2.5m. Directors blamed delays to the shipment programmes of new products.

Analysts immediately started downgrading pre-tax profit expectations for the current year from £10m to £2m, as heavy volume of 1.3m shares - about 5 per cent of the company - changed hands yesterday.

Tadpole, which fell £1.3m into the red last year against a £749,000 profit in the previous 12 months, said latest developments were disappointing.

It said full testing of products, such as the Pentium 1000 notebook, used in the Intel microchip, was vital. Production volume shipments begin in February. The company said it remained confident of a satisfactory outcome for 1995, which would be "pivotal" for its future.

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