Nautronix shrugs off First Tech demand for explanation over downgrade

Fremantle-based marine technology company Nautronix has shrugged off demands by hostile suitor, First Tech, for a "by line and date of occurrence" explanation for its latest downgrade in projected profit.

Last week, Nautronix said its expected earnings before tax and interest would total just $1 million this financial year, resulting in a full net loss of $5.9 million despite its February forecast that operating earnings would total $9.5 million, resulting in a $500,000 net profit for the year.

The downgrade put Nautronix in breach of conditions demanding that there be no adverse material changes to its financial prospects for First Tech's hostile 55 cent per share offer to proceed.

Many in the market believe that Nautronix used the profit downgrade last week as a desperate attempt to thwart First Tech's second tilt at the company in six months.

In response to the profit downgrade, Nautronix said it has initiated a review of its Offshore Technology Group, which accounted for half of the $8.5 million in drop in EBITDA.

Complicating matters is that fact the division was run by Mr Mark Patterson, who has subsequently been stood down.

Mr Patterson is an ally of First Tech boss, Mr Ian Suttie, who promised Mr Patterson that he would be the new chief executive of Nautronix should First Tech's bid succeed.

Currently, Nautronix is trading at 61 cents, down 1c on yesterday. Last week, Nautronix' shares spiked at 62c after news that the company stood to gain a $24 million windfall from a successful litigation case in the US.