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System builder off to High Court

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Updated Carrera Technology, the UK system builder, is applying to the High Court for an administration order. The application will be heard on Friday 13 October, today's CRN reports.

Administration is the closest thing that the UK has to the US Chapter II, and it is intended to give companies a breathing space from their creditors, while they are reorganising their finances.

Unlike Chapter II, very few companies emerge from administration. So unless Carrera has a buyer lined up, the outlook for the company looks decidedly rocky.

Keith Warburton, director of the Personal Computer Association, told The Register: "Another system builder in trouble is just symptomatic of the changes in the market."

The consensus in the sector is that Carrera is trying to sell itself, although the motivations for filing the order are still unclear. An industry source told The Register "No-one knows if they are trying to protect the company until it can be sold, or if they are going to sell it anyway. I can't see why they would have filed for the order unless they were in a very bad spot."

An application for an administration order is not usually in the public domain, and would only normally be announced after the hearing, when it had been granted. It seems that Carrera has been caught somewhat unprepared for all the media attention - no one at Carrera is available to talk to the
press.

Trying to find a buyer could prove tricky as well. One possibility is a move by some inside the company to take it over from the current administration. A competitor is more likely to wait until the company actually goes into administration, and take the pieces it wants, rather than make a bid for the whole shebang. The third candidate would be a catalogue company, who may want to move into new space.

Failing that, a sale to a European company is a remote possibility. Those inside the industry think that UK companies are probably too well informed about the situation to consider making a bid.

Our source said: "There must be some way it can survive. But until Friday it is a case of stalemate." ®

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