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Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Baltimore shares near 99% fall
Baltimore's share price has plummeted since spring 2000
Software firm Baltimore Technologies, once a member of the FTSE 100 elite of top UK-listed shares, is close to joining the 99% club of stock market duffers after announcing more job cuts.

Baltimore shares, which closed at 1375p in March 2000 at the height of the boom in tech stocks, hit 16.5p in morning trade after the internet security firm unveiled its second shake-up in two months.

Fran Rooney, chief executive, Baltimore Technologies
Fran Rooney: "Fundamental changes"
The slide placed the shares within 3p of adding Baltimore to the list of firms, typically technology companies, which have seen their share price collapse by 99% over the last year.

Baltimore's announcement of "significant" job cuts and a top-to-bottom operational shift will add further gloom to a European technology sector stunned by Marconi's profits warning on Wednesday.

Jobs cut

Baltimore said the latest restructuring would achieve "significant cost efficiencies" in the face of a trading environment "which remains challenging".

Revenues for the three months ending 30 June will come in at 15.5m, well below market expectations, Thursday's briefing revealed.

The firm is to open talks with staff over the loss of an unquantified number of jobs, on top of the 250 axed in May out of a then total of 1,400.

The company also said it would undertake a major restructuring of all global operations, following the shake-up in May of sales and marketing operations.

"The further restructuring programme... will involve fundamental change across the business including a significant reduction in headcount," a statement on Thursday said.

Chief executive Fran Rooney said: "The restructuring... will require fundamental changes which will focus the company on delivering business in a different way, as well as achieving cost savings.'

The company, which in May said it intended to achieve savings of 30-35m a year, said on Thursday it had so far implemented sufficient reforms to cut annual costs by 14m.

Deals delayed

Analysts will be awaiting the release next month of Baltimore's half-year results for further clues to the firm's financial health.

The firm announced underlying losses of 17.2m, on revenues of 23.7m, in the first three months of the year.

The company has been hit by a growing reluctance among clients to finalise deals, while uncertainty over the global economic outlook remains.

But Mr Rooney on Thursday restated the depth of the firm's financial reserves.

In the City, Baltimore shares had recovered some ground by early afternoon to stand at 17.25p, 31% down on the day.

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12 Apr 01 | Business
Baltimore slumps on warning
21 Feb 01 | Business
Baltimore hit by US worries
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