UPDATE 2-Israel's BATM swings to loss, scraps div payout

Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:59am EST

* To wind down legacy products business in US in 2012

* Takes related charge of $5.3 million

* FY pretax loss $4.1 mln vs pretax profit $1 million last yr

* 2012 rev and profit to be better than 2011 - CFO

By Brenton Cordeiro

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Israel's BATM Advanced Communications scrapped its dividend payout for 2011 as it swung to a loss, hurt by a one-time charge related to curtailing a part of its telecoms business.

BATM, a designer and producer of broadband data and telecoms systems, said it would wind down its legacy telecoms business in the United States in 2012 to focus on Internet protocol, and had absorbed related costs of $5.3 million in 2011.

However, excluding the legacy telecoms business, BATM said it expected 2012's performance to be an improvement over 2011.

"If you take 2011, and strip off the legacy business you will see that 2012 will be better both in revenue and profitability," Chief Financial Officer Ofer Bar-Ner told Reuters.

In early December, the company had said it was undertaking a strategic review of the legacy business and would consider withdrawing from it in 2012.

"The focus on telecom IP will show growth in revenue, and will show slightly better margins," the CFO said. "On the medical side, we will continue to lose money on diagnostics but less than we what we have invested this year."

The company said its diagnostics business took up the vast majority of its investment in the medical division in 2011, and continued to incur losses.

BATM, which also makes medical products like laboratory diagnostic equipment, said it expected results from these investments only by 2013.

"In 2012, we should begin to see the launch of the diagnostics product range," Shore Capital's Robin Speakman said.

The firm posted a pretax loss of $4.1 million in 2011, compared with a profit before tax of $1 million a year ago.

BATM, which had also scrapped its interim dividend for 2011 last March, said revenue for the year rose 6 percent to $127.6 million.

The company, which has applied to list its shares on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange, now expects to have a dual listing before the end of the first-half of 2012.

Shares of the company were trading down 1.4 percent at 17.5 pence at 1054 on Monday on the London Stock Exchange.