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iSoft shares up on news of six month loss

Losing £14.3m better than £300m or so

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iSoft, the troubled and much investigated medical software provider, has delivered on its promises of widening losses for the six months ending October 31.

The company has reported a pre-tax loss of £14.3m for the period, compared to a profit of £8m for the same period a year ago. This still seems tiny compared to the £343.8m loss it reported for the 2005-2006 financial year. This massive deficit was largely due to the company changing the way its stated its accounts, incurring a massive goodwill impairment.

The company said that sales dropped 11 per cent in the period to October 31, with revenues reaching £85.9m. But job cuts cost money, which took iSoft back into the red, overall.

iSoft is supposed to be playing a central role in the world's largest public sector IT project - the ever-popular National Programme for IT (NPfIT) to transform technology use in the NHS.

But to everyone's surprise, the mammoth government IT project has been hit by delays. There has also been much debate over iSoft's contract. Consulting firm Accenture recently withdrew from the NPfIT, blaming iSoft for some of the delays.

Meanwhile, the company is being investigated by the Financial Services Authority for possible "irregularities" in its accounts for 2003 to 2005.

Still, shares were up 14 per cent on the latest financials, suggesting investors are pleased with the company's performance. The company has funding until the end of 2007, and says it is stil talking to investors about a possible sale.

"We have made significant advances since the middle of 2006," said iSoft chairman and CEO, John Weston. "We have still to put long-term financing in place but iSoft is today in considerably better shape than it was a few months ago." ®

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