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Ionica's bank funding may be cut off after losses multiply

Ionica, the troubled wireless telephones company, yesterday warned that it may not be able borrow more cash from its banks after a huge increase in losses.

The company, which saw its post-flotation share price crash last year after admitting a series of operating problems, yesterday revealed losses of pounds 34.8m between October and December, up from pounds 8.9m during the same period the year before. It meant Ionica has lost pounds 112m in the last nine months of 1997, compared with pounds 22m in 1996.

Last month Ionica replaced its founder, Nigel Playford, as chief executive and announced it was seeking outside partners to help complete its UK network, which uses wireless signals to make fixed phone calls. Because of the setbacks, Ionica admitted it would not meet conditions imposed by its bankers for a pounds 300m loan facility.

Yesterday Ionica said: "There can no assurance, however, that such funding will be available to the company on acceptable terms, if at all." Its cash resources had been depleted by pounds 183m between April and December, leaving pounds 173m in the bank for future expansion. The company said this should be sufficient until "late 1998 or early 1999."

Shares in the company, floated at 350p, fell 5p to 78.5p on the news.