PARIS ¿ Cerep, which earlier this month had announced plans for raising EUR40 million (US$34 million) through the issue of 400,000 to 460,000 new shares (see BioWorld International, June 13, 2001), was finally forced to scrap the offer because of the market¿s lack of interest.

The Paris-based drug discovery company issued a statement last week saying that it had decided to ¿withdraw its offer for a capital increase because of unsuitable market conditions making it impossible to set a price that would satisfy both existing shareholders and new investors.¿

Three days earlier, on June 18, Cerep had already announced that it was scaling down its planned capital increase due to ¿current market conditions and legal constraints on the setting of the offer price for the new shares.¿ It reduced the number of shares on offer to 300,000 to 345,000 and extended the subscription period by three days to June 21. The issue was being managed by BNP Paribas.

The company downplayed the setback, however, pointing out that it had generated an operating profit in the second half of 2000 and the first quarter of 2001 and that its cash and short-term investments had increased by EUR9 million over the past three months. Maintaining that the cancellation of the capital increase would ¿not have any effect on the continuation of the company¿s short- and medium-term development plans,¿ Cerep added that it did ¿not rule out proceeding with another capital increase in the coming months in order to facilitate the acceleration of its growth.¿

¿ James Etheridge

No Comments