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Stepstone Raises Ä25m in New Share Issue - 11/2001

By Paolo Anastasio

Stepstone, the pan-European online recruitment site, has closed a Ä25m share issue at a share price of NOK 0.30. The new issue was directed to the companyís largest investors including GeoCapital, Orkla and Investor.

The company has announced that a further Ä10m rights issue is due to follow for shareholders who have not participated in the direct issue.

The Board announced that the fresh capital will be sufficient to complete the ongoing restructuring plan, made public on November 1st, and to reach profitability in the second quarter 2002.

The restructuring programme will be implemented by newly appointed CEO Colin Tenwick, former General Manager at Red Hat Europe. According to the plan, Stepstone will reduce staff from 870 to less than 350, withdrawing from unprofitable countries where EBITDA is far from being positive.

Stepstone has already shut down operations in the UK and France, and plans to leave also Italy, India, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal.

In third quarter 2001 Stepstone registered Ä13.4 million in revenues, equal to a 13 per cent decline against the second quarter, and Ä30 million in net losses.

In March 2000 the company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, raising around Ä214 million in a directed share issue, almost ten times more than todayís capital increase.

On September 30th the company had a cash position of Ä22.5 million, against Ä46.9 million three months earlier. As a result, the fresh capital collected today will guarantee survival until at least the first quarter of 2002.
Stepstone are down 10.6 per cent at NOK 0.42 Monday.