PARIS - Genset SA has raised more than EUR49 million (US$47 million) through a private placement of convertible bonds exchangeable for Genset common shares. The total amount raised could be increased to EUR55 million if an overallotment option is exercised.

The issue, which was handled by SG Cowen, is a novel one to the extent that the bonds carry a zero coupon, so no interest will be payable during the three-and-a-half-year term of the bonds. The conversion price was set at a 17.5 percent premium to Genset's share price at the time. As well as avoiding any cash drain for the company, the issue includes flexible call provisions allowing Genset to bring forward the conversion into common stock at any time prior to maturity, provided the share price exceeds the predetermined trigger levels.

Pascal Brandys, CEO of the Paris-based company, said this fund raising "provides resources at a crucial time to further support our aggressive exploitation of genomic data toward the creation of multiple, medically valuable assets." In April, when announcing a sharply higher loss for the first quarter of 2000, the genomics company had warned it would continue to incur losses for the next few years, the amount and duration of which would depend on the level of its continued investments in genomics research activities and the timing and terms of future collaboration agreements. - James Etheridge