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Opticom under new probe

The Oslo Stock Exchange is once again investigating whether research and development firm Opticom has violated its obligation to keep investors informed.

The Oslo Stock Exchange is once again investigating whether research and development firm Opticom has violated its obligation to keep investors informed. The company is now a shadow of itself after reported layoffs at its Thin Film Electronics unit in Sweden.

Opticom owns 87 percent of Thin Film Electronics (TFE), which reportedly has issued layoff notices to its 44 employees. A Swedish newspaper reported late last week that TFE is shutting down in Sweden.

Opticom itself didn't issue a statement to the stock exchange until Monday, in which it wrote that layoffs are a possible scenario. Partner Intel, which owns 13 percent of TFE, reportedly will no longer rely on TFE's technology for storing large quantities of information.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reported Monday that TFE's management also has been told to go, leaving Opticom with just 12 employees, including controversial boss Robert Keith.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported Tuesday that Keith and his partner, Thomas Fussell, have pulled tens of millions of kroner out of the company since taking over in 1996, even though Opticom never has shown any signs of making money.

The Oslo Stock Exchange halted trading of Opticom shares on Friday. Keith claims Opticom has communicated the possibility that it may need to reorganize in Sweden.

Opticom founder Hans Gudesen denies that prospects for its polymer technology are all but dead, saying he is neither frustrated nor happy. He wouldn't comment on the fate of TFE in Sweden.