Wakebourne hit by pounds 18.6m loss: Write-off of US investment drives computer specialist into the red

WAKEBOURNE, the specialist computer company that emerged last year from the collapsed Maddox Group, made pre-tax losses of pounds 18.6m in 1993 largely as a result of the write-off of the whole of its investment in Lantek Electronics.

The losses compared with profits of pounds 453,000 the previous year. But Wakebourne's UK computer support arm, which now forms the bulk of the company's business, saw operating profits of pounds 2.6m, excluding discontinued activities.

There are also plans for a reduction of capital to eliminate the deficit on reserves and a consolidation - every 40 shares of 1p converted into one new ordinary share of 40p - to improve the marketability of Wakebourne shares.

The results were foreshadowed in a circular to shareholders last year. Yesterday Leslie Warman, the newly appointed chairman, said: 'In the first quarter of 1994 a number of significant new contracts have been won and this, together with a backlog of orders, augurs well for the year ahead. The board is very clear about the direction in which it wishes to drive the business, both organically and with complementary acquisitions.'

Maddox's chairman, Hugo Biermann, a South African entrepreneur, resigned in November after the company announced huge losses. These were dominated by Maddox's stake in, and loans to, a US company, Lantek, taken when the American firm bought two Maddox divisions, Seacoast and Cables & Flexibles. C&F was later put into receivership. Mr Warman said: 'There have been no firm developments concerning the discussions of a possible merger of Lantek with VTX Electronics.'

Turnover rose from pounds 6m to pounds 22.2m. The loss per share was 3.6p, against earnings of 0.1p. The shares fell 0.75p to 3p.

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