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Tadpole shares suspended as it fails to produce accounts

The problems at Tadpole Technology escalated yesterday when shares in the former glamour stock were suspended after it failed to produce its annual report and accounts.

Shares in the computer group, which stood at 423p in 1994, were suspended at 23.5p following discussions with the Stock Exchange. Under Exchange rules a company must produce its annual accounts within six months of the end of its financial year. Tadpole's financial year runs until 30 September, which gave it to the end of last week to deliver the accounts.

Tadpole's finance director, Bob Booth, said yesterday that the publication of the group's accounts had been delayed "while a transaction was put in place".

It is understood that this relates to a refinancing as the group seeks a return to profit.

The company, chaired by Richard King, is not thought to be in any talks that may lead to an offer. But the new funding is expected to be in place by the end of the month. Tadpole reported reduced losses of pounds 4.4m in the year to September, down from pounds 10m the previous year.

Under its new chief executive, Bernard Hulme, Tadpole is returning to its original brief as an original equipment manufacturer of specialist circuit boards rather than notebook computers.

At its preliminary results announcement in November Mr Hulme said that the combination of Tadpole's engineering expertise with the marketing knowledge of well-established partners would, "given the appropriate funding", enable Tadpole to realise its potential.

Tadpole has proved one of the most volatile stocks in the technology sector in recent years. Floated at 65p in 1992 the shares trebled in 10 days fuelled by its plans to produce the world's most powerful notebook computer. The shares hit 423p at the end of 1994 but began to slide almost immediately after a a profits warning relating to delays to its much- vaunted P1000 computer.

As the shares continued to slide the company brought in a new chief executive to replace its 35-year-old founder, George Grey. Tadpole has since said its mistake was to try to take on the computer giants such as Compaq and Toshiba when it lacked sufficient marketing muscle.

It has scrapped the Pentium-based notebook computer to concentrate on selling technology to the communications and network computing industries.

The company has said it does not expect to record a profit until the 1997/98 financial year. It has not made a profit since 1994.