Baltimore moves to shore up share price by unveiling bank customers

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The Independent Online

Baltimore Technologies, the internet security software company, yesterday unveiled the names of six banks it had already signed up to use its technology in an effort to counter recent warnings and shore up its share price.

Shares in the company, which traded as high as £13.75 at the peak of the internet boom in spring last year, closed up 2.75p, or 7.4 per cent, at 40p last night. The company, which had already announced the contract wins and is thought to have already booked sales from them in the first quarter of the year, had been unable to reveal the identity of its new customers.

It said yesterday that the six are Germany's HypoVereinsbank, Staalbankiers in the Netherlands, Zagrebacka Banka in Croatia, Allied Irish Bank and Anglo Irish Bank in Ireland, and Dexia Bank in Belgium.

Stock in Baltimore had plunged to 37.25p earlier in the week on concerns that it would run out of cash before it became profitable. The company had originally hoped to be profitable at the end of this year. However, after two profit warnings, analysts now reckon it might not get to break-even point until the second half of next year. The more bearish believe it could run out of money altogether if orders do not pick up.

At the end of the first quarter, Baltimore had about £84m of cash left, but it was burning through £17m a quarter, meaning it had some 15 months' grace, taking it to June next year.

However, the company is hoping the cost-cutting exercise it launched last month, which saw it axe 250 jobs, would save it £30m-35m a year. Analysts have scaled back their sales estimates for Baltimore this year to £90-£100m from original forecasts of £150-£160m.