Financial Trap Closes on Cornered Mice Group; MARKETING

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Byline: By John Cranage Business Staff

Exhibitions and marketing specialist Mice Group looked to be fighting for its life last night after its shares were suspended amid a financial crisis.

It said it was in danger of running out of money without further short term funding.

The Coventry-based company followed a series of profits warnings earlier this year with an announcement yesterday that it was in discussions with a view to its lenders making a "limited amount" of new money available.

"In the meantime discussions are also ongoing with a number of parties that might interested in providing additional funding to the group although these discussions are at an early stage," Mice said in statement to the London Stock Exchange.

It went on: "The board is concerned that the company would have insufficient funds to continue trading unless such additional funding from interested parties can be secured in the short term.

"The board has therefore requested that trading in its shares be suspended until the company's financial position can be clarified."

The company would not expand on the statement and directors were said to be "too busy" to take questions.

Mice shares were suspended at a price of 6p each at 9.15am yesterday, a price that valued the business at about pounds 10.6 million.

That compared with a 52-week high of 4414p per share and a market capitalisation of pounds 78.8 million.

Mice was previously the vehicle of Midland millionaire Michael Curley, a regular entrant in The Birmingham Post annual Midlands' Rich List.

He retired from the business in 2005, but his son, James Curley, still works there as chief executive of the international division.

Mice was listed in December 1994 and has an annual turnover of about pounds 180 million. It provides marketing services to 25 of the world's top 100 brands. The group consists of 64 companies which employ a total of 1,7000 people at locations in Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Last year the group raised pounds 10. …