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Aims to save £72m a year

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Internet security firm Baltimore Technologies is to sack 220 staff and to sell off its content security business

The job cuts form part of a restructuring plan which is designed to save Baltimore £72 million a year, far more than the £14 million target set last month. Around 1,150 people work for Baltimore, Europe's biggest security firm, following an earlier job cull of 250 in March. By selling off parts of its business and implementing more job cuts, the firm hopes to more than halve its workforce to 470 by the second quarter of next year.

Dwindling cash reserves and disappointing sales have forced Baltimore to take a scythe to its business, with its latest figures continuing the run of disappointing financial results.

Baltimore's second quarter revenues, published today, were £16.5 ($23.2 million) million compared to £22.9 million (US$32.2 million) in its first quarter and barely up on the £16.3 million ($22.9 million) Baltimore recorded in its second quarter last year. Losses before exceptional items and interest rates were taken into account was £23.7 million ($33.3 million) compared to £4.4 million ($6.2 million) in Q2 2000.

For the three months to June 2001, Baltimore ended up with a cash balance of £53.9 million ($75.8 million) compared to £83.6 million ($117.6 million) at the end of Q1 2001, so unless something radical was done it was in danger of running out of money.

Baltimore plans to focus on authorisation and Public Key-based authentication technology. This will be combined into one business unit, with a reorganisation of its direct and indirect sales forces.

The firm's content security business, which Baltimore now says has little "synergy" with its core encryption technology offering, will be run as a separate business while it looks for a buyer.

Through the restructuring programme, Baltimore hopes to turn around its business after a recent run of poor results that saw the departure of long-term chief executive Fran Rooney and speculation that the firm had become a takeover target.

The success of this makeover will depend in large part on the recovery of the ebusiness market and whether public key infrastructure technology becomes fashionable again, something that needs to happen sooner rather than later so far as Baltimore's shareholders are concerned. ®

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