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Tadpole losses hit £6m

THE first boardroom casualty of the crisis at Tadpole Technology will be announced tomorrow when Geoff Burr, head of marketing and the director responsible for the key US territory, will quit, writes William Kay.

His departure will accompany news of a first-half loss of more than £6m - double the £3m that was the market's worst fear on Friday. Much of the difference is accounted for by provisions for restructuring, administrative savings and redundancies.

The immediate cause of the losses is a failure to begin shipping on time supplies of the company's new P1000 notebook- sized computer. But sources close to the company suggested Mr Burr was leaving because the US accounts for 70 per cent of sales and orders have not been growing there quickly enough.

A series of cuts will be announced by the chairman, Richard King, and the 33-year-old chief executive, George Grey. The shares have collapsed from 440p to 134p in the past six months. They were floated in November 1992 at 65p.

Although the group is expected to return to profitability during the second half of the year, ending on 30 September, this will be nowhere near substantial enough to enable Tadpole to declare an overall profit. The company has lost money in three out of the last four years.

Shares in Tadpole were suspended on Thursday, after falling 44p to a two-year low of 134p. A fellow sufferer, Magnum Power, which makes computer power supply units, shed 19p to 176p as investor panic swept the sector.