Optima calls in administrators

Losses sustained by PC assembly business, Optima Technology Solutions, to blame

ASX-listed PC assembler, Optima, has appointed voluntary administrators to several of its business units. The news comes just days after share trading in the company was suspended.

According to a statement posted to the ASX, David Mansfield and Rick Porter of Moore Stephens were appointed administrators across Optima's manufacturing arm, its retail subsidiary, Digital City, and its 3Cshop channel operations.

Chairman and managing director, Cornel Ung, claimed losses sustained by its PC assembly business, Optima Technology Solutions, were largely to blame.

"Optima Technology Solutions... has been operating under fierce competition from multinational vendors for several years," he said in the statement. "Optima Technology Solution has had losses for some time but suffered a major setback when it lost the preferred supplier status to Department of Education and Training in both Queensland and NSW."

Optima's retail subsidiary, Digital City Group, had also failed to become profitable, Ung said. Optima purchased the business in October after the business was put into administration.

"The business of Digital City Group, which was acquired last year, has failed to meet the profit forecasts and has been consistently experiencing losses," the statement read. "Unfortunately with the general downturn in retail sales, management have not been able to turn this business around."

Co-administrator, Rick Porter, said the team from Moore Stephens was with Optima today to work out the next step. It is unclear at this stage how many staff will be made redundant, he said. According to ARN sources, Optima currently has about 100 staff.

Porter also confirmed Optima had one secured creditor, the Commonwealth Bank, as well as lots of smaller debtors. It is understood Optima's main distributors are Ingram Micro and Synnex.

The listed Optima ICM company and other subsidiaries will continue to operate. Porter said these included some smaller subsidiaries which only dealt in company loans.

On July 19, Optima called a trading halt on its shares, then suspended all trading on July 22 pending an announcement about its future direction. Shares in Optima were trading at $0.015 at the time.

Supplier to Optima's Digital City division, Multimedia Technology, also told <i>ARN</i> this week that it was pursuing legal action against the business because it had failed to pay several hundred thousand dollars in debt.

More to follow.