i-mate not going under says CEO

Smartphone company delists from financial market but plans to raise more capital and launch new handsets

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By  Dylan Bowman Published  November 19, 2008

i-mate is not going out of business, but is in the process of recapitalising ahead of new product launches next year, its CEO said on Wednesday.

The smart phone vendor delisted from the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, leading to speculation that the company might be about to cease business.

Jim Morrison, CEO, told Arabian Business in an interview: “Some people think we are taking the company off the market because we are closing down, but we are not. We are taking the company off the market so we can relaunch it.

“We are more certain of our future now then when we were on the stock market,” he added.

i-mate delisted in London on Tuesday, after announcing its intention to do so in October, if shareholders agreed to the move at its 10th November annual general meeting.

Its share price plummeted to just 0.12 pence at the close of trading on Monday, down 99.66% on the year-to-date.

Morrison blamed short-selling for the dramatic drop in the company's share price, which at its all-time high in June 2006 was 327.5 pence.

Morrison said: “The share price was just getting tanked for no reason. There was a lot of short-selling on the shares, which was just driving the shares down.”

He said this drove down the share price at the first bid of bad news. “It didn’t really recover from that,” he said.

Morrison said i-mate had new capital coming into the company from technology funds, but would not say how much capital it was looking to raise.

“We’re lining up a couple of funds... There are a couple of funds that are very keen in technology within the Gulf region, so they are going to come in,” he said.

He did not disclose which funds were going to invest in i-mate, but said Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of the world’s largest microchip maker, was not one of them.

Morrison said he would look to list i-mate again in the future, but was more likely to do so in Dubai rather than London.

On spending, Morrison said next year the company planned to buy a factory in China to do more of its own manufacturing and would probably buy a software company to enhance its product offering. He did not say how much the company planned to spend on these purchases.

He said the company was watching its spending closely in the current economic climate, but was not cutting any jobs.

Morrison said i-mate would launch a new product at 3GSM in Barcelona. He said the product would “shake-up the mobile phone space”, without giving further details. He also said i-mate would continue to focus its attentions on the Middle East and was doing a lot in the area of Arabisation, although it would not attempt to re-enter the US market for “the next year or so” following an earlier failed attempt.

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