Bioglan puts itself up for sale after further £11m write-off

By Stephen Foley
Tuesday 20 November 2001 01:00

Bioglan Pharma, the biotech firm fighting for survival in the face of mounting debts, has again failed to get its results approved by its auditors.

The company restated its most recent interim results yesterday, revealing an additional £11m write-off and raising doubts over the future of a key marketing deal. But the shares rose a penny to 12p after Bioglan said it has received a number of takeover approaches, and formally put itself up for sale with the launch of a strategic review. It could also seek a strategic investment by a third party.

The company is in talks with its bankers, led by Royal Bank of Scotland, which have given it until 30 November to reach a deal over the restructuring of its short-term debt.

The latest estimate of the company's losses in the six months to 30 September is £45.6m. KPMG, the auditors, forced Bioglan to write off goodwill relating to a deal with Medicis, the US pharmaceutical firm. Bioglan is now unlikely to exercise an option to acquire products from Medicis, and the deal will be wound up.

Bioglan is shedding 15 per cent of its staff and cutting back on activities outside its main competence in skincare products. KPMG again refused to sign off the accounts, saying it could not verify that there were no additional liabilities that would be discovered as a result of the restructuring.

The upheaval has prompted a number of disputes with Bioglan's partners, including CeNeS Pharmaceuticals, which is threatening to sue over allegations Bioglan failed to adhere to a development deal on a pain-killing spray. Yesterday Bioglan revealed that SkyePharma – from whom it is licensing Solaraze, a treatment for pre-cancerous skin blemishes – is seeking to end its relationship with the company. Bioglan said it did not believe SkyePharma has legal grounds to end the deal.

Bioglan's founder, chairman and chief executive Terry Sadler has seen the value of his stake slashed from £130m to £4m since an over-ambitious acquisition collapsed in August.

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