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Jade pulls share float as cashflow dries up

By Chris Hutching

Friday 8th August 2003

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Jade Software Corporation has canned its public float because a sharp deterioration in its balance sheet this year means that ordinary sharemarket investors and analysts would shun a share offering.

A forewarning of the dramatic turnaround at Jade became apparent a few weeks ago when senior marketing executive Peter Helms resigned ahead of new chief executive Rod Carr taking over the reins.

Mr Carr was formerly deputy governor of the Reserve Bank and has been brought in to shake up the organisation.

Mr Carr said that over the next few days and weeks he would be consulting staff about what positions should be made redundant, with the aim of making cost savings of about 25%.

Corporate sponsorships are also under review as the company focuses on the core business of promoting the Jade software and cutting back on research and development in other areas.

"We need a reasonable prospect that we can be cashflow neutral before we go to investors for recapitalisation."

A slump in international sales of technology products is being blamed for the fall in fortunes but the company has struggled to make headway for some time and last month announced that it would provide free access to its Jade software although it would charge for commercialisation.

The experts agree that the technology is sound but it has yet to be accepted on a wide scale.

The recapitalisation of Jade is yet to be finalised with potential private investors. Mr Carr said the company would seek $10-25 million ­ a wide range but it would depend on terms and conditions.

Company founder Sir Gil Simpson has about 90% of the shares after a recapitalisation two years ago involving venture funder I-Cap Partners. Mr Carr said some of the same investors would be involved.

Jade employs 383 people with most of them in Christchurch.

Last June Jade named UBS as lead manager for its float and Stock Exchange listing this year.

The company value was estimated at between $100 million to $150 million.

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