Stock exchange slaps fines on Opticom

Oslo-based Opticom, suspended from the Oslo Stock Exchange since last Friday, now faces hefty fines for every day it refuses to reveal information on a new contract it has with Intel.

Opticom executive Robert Keith said in connection with release of the company's 2001 results last week that just a year's worth of royalties from the Intel deal could amount to more than the total market value of Opticom (currently about NOK 4.5 billion.)

Other than that, few details of the Intel deal have come out, and the stock exhange has been demanding more information. The exchange wants investors to be able to make their own evaluation of Opticom shares.

The board of the exchange decided Thursday to impose a fine of NOK 500,000 on Opticom for each day that it fails to reveal "adequate" information about the deal with Intel.

The fines will begin February 25.

Top Oslo broker Jan Petter Sissener of Orkla Enskilda Securities earlier had told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that analyzing Opticom was "a hopeless task" because information from the company was lacking.

Sissener called Opticom, which develops data storage systems, "a research project" that should be stricken from the exchange.