iSOFT extends trading halt

Major announcement on the future of the troubled e-health provider expected

iSoft (ASX:ISF) has extended a trading halt placed on its shares until Next Monday pending a major announcement on the future of the troubled e-health provider.

The trading halt, initially placed on iSoft shares last Thursday, led many to expect the company to announce a buyout by Monday this week. However, in an ASX statement issued before trading began this week, the company said it would shortly update the market on its strategic review process.

“The directors consider that the current status of the strategic review process and the proposals received as part of this process, including relating to a potential change of control, are not sufficiently advanced to permit the disclosure of complete information to the market,” the statement reads.

According to the company its shares will be suspended for an entire week while it seeks to bring itself to a position where it can publicly release information on its future.

“Given the nature of proposals received, in the absence of a detailed announcement there is potential for trading to take place in a speculative or uninformed market,” the statement reads.

“Accordingly, the company requests a voluntary suspension of its securities to prevent trading taking place in a speculative or uninformed market ahead of the announcement.”

The halt follows a run of increasingly bad news from the company. Last month it reported an $84.1 million net loss in the first half of the 2011 financial year due to restructuring costs and impairment charges. The company, which had made a $4.8 million profit in 1H10, spent the most recent half attempting to restore the financial health of the business.

In December it began selling off parts of its business to pay down its debts. The first to go was its financial management solutions unit, iSoft Business Solutions (iBS), to Capita Group PLC.

Earlier in the month it appointed acting chief executive, Andrea Fiumicelli, as its new permanent CEO. Fiumicelli was named acting CEO in September, following the resignation of Gary Cohen from the position.

September saw the announcement that the company would lay off 800 staff, constituting 17 per cent of its total workforce, over the next financial year in a bid to halt its sliding financial fortunes.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @tlohman

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