Rapidly growing Systems Reliability Holdings Plc is playing the knight in shining armour to Optim Group Plc’s damsel in distress. Systems is heading a consortium of investors which, along with a group of clients from Tranwood Earl & Co Ltd and Henderson Crosthwaite Ltd, are to subscribe to up to 43m new ordinary shares at […]
Rapidly growing Systems Reliability Holdings Plc is playing the knight in shining armour to Optim Group Plc’s damsel in distress. Systems is heading a consortium of investors which, along with a group of clients from Tranwood Earl & Co Ltd and Henderson Crosthwaite Ltd, are to subscribe to up to 43m new ordinary shares at 10 pence each. A four-for-15 rights issue has also been announced placing 5.3m new ordinary shares at the 10 pence price. These measures are expected to raise UKP4.5m after expenses. Furthermore, Brown, Shipley & Co is to convert UKP2.6m of the debt Optim owes it into 16m new ordinary shares in the company. Following these recapitalisation measures the consortium (including Brown, Shipley & Co) will own 13.3% of Optim’s enlarged share capital, while Tranwood and Henderson will together own about 41%. So far irrevocable commitments for the proposed recapitalisation have been received from each of the directors of Optim, representing 16.9% of the company’s shares, although indications in favour of the scheme have been received from institutional shareholders controlling another 28% of the share capital.
Optim was created in 1982 by a management buyout from Monotype Communications. The new company swiftly merged with MCS UK and decided to enter the general purpose computer market. This led to heavy trading losses in 1984 but the company found its feet once more by devoting itself to its traditional service based market. In July 1988 Optim came to the Unlisted Securities Market, valued at UKP7.1m, hoping that the placing would help to reduce its debt (CI No 969). Insufficient money was raised and Optim’s bankers Brown, Shipley & Co demanded repayment of the money Optim owed. In response Optim said last month when it reported interim losses, that it was moving to cut its debt burden (CI No 1,255). It turns out that this move was the acquisition of Zelix Corp Ltd to give Optim an injection of cash. Not enough cash would have been generated, however, and the acquisition is now off. Under the current recapitalisation plan, Robert Evans, chairman of Systems Reliability, will chair Optim, while Optim’s present chairman, Michael Brennan will become chief executive. The two groups will enjoy significant trading associations according to Evans, and presumably this means using Systems Reliability’s dealers as part of Optim’s turnkey solutions. Evans is particularly interested in Optim’s Unix-based systems for IBM equipment. Should the recapitalisation plan go well the acquisitive Evans will very likely consider mounting a full bid from his company’s 5% launchpad Optim stake. Systems Reliability Plc has announced the successful installation of an ORBi-tel telephone network management system for the Eagle Star Insurance company. The system took two months to install and operates in 37 of Eagle Star’s network of sites. Eagle Star says it chose ORBi-tel because of its ability to transmit data via its existing X25 net.