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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 15:47 GMT
Huntingdon unveils more losses
Managing Director Brian Cass
MD Brian Cass attacked with baseball bat by activists
Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), the drug-testing company that nearly closed after violent protests from animal rights activists, has reported a rise in annual losses.

The group, which tests new compounds for drug and biotech companies, reported a net loss after tax and interest of 10.9m ($15.5m) for 2000, compared with a loss of 6.6m the previous year.

In the results statement, executive chairman Andrew Baker said, "2000 was certainly a challenging year".

"This (animal rights) campaign... certainly had a negative impact on orders and study starts during the fourth quarter and the early part of 2001."

More work ahead

HLS said it expects orders growth to resume during 2001 after uncertainties surrounding its debt refinancing hit orders in the last quarter of 2000 and the early part of this year.

Animal rights activist outside HLS
Protestors blamed for widening losses
Order levels for the year increased by 5%, compared with a 17% rise in 1999.

Exceptional losses totalled 2.3m, including a write-off of costs incurred in refinancing the company's bank debt of 1.2m.

The company was brought back from the brink of bankruptcy in January after it finally managed to refinance its debt, providing enough working capital for another year.

Direct action

Financial institutions abandoned HLS after the company and its backers were targeted by violent protests from animal rights activists.

In February, HLS' managing director Brian Cass was beaten with baseball bats by masked raiders outside his home.

The attack resulted in government measures to allow company directors under threat of violence or intimidation to keep their home address private.

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19 Jan 01 | Business
Research industry under threat
29 Jan 01 | Business
US group bails out Huntingdon
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