UPDATE 1-Ark Therapeutics sells two units; shares plunge

Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:26am EDT

* Sells two units for 1.3 mln stg

* Shares fall as much as 61 pct (Adds background; updates share movement)

March 15 (Reuters) - Ark Therapeutics Group Plc said it sold two units after a process to sell itself attracted only one bidder, which later withdrew its offer.

Shares of the drug researcher and developer fell as much as 61 percent to 0.35 pence, their lowest since the company went public in 2004.

Ark, which has never reported a full-year profit as a listed company, said it sold Ark Therapeutics Ltd and Lymphatix Oy to WKD Holdings Oy for 1.3 million pounds ($2 million).

Ark began a formal sale process in January and appointed WG Partners LLP to evaluate strategic options after fundraising talks with shareholders fell apart.

Without the sale of these two units the only option available to the company was to begin insolvency proceedings, Ark said on Friday.

Ark said it will have a net cash balance of about 1 million pounds after the sale and settlement of all outstanding liabilities.

The company, which operates in the UK and Finland, had tried to cut costs and terminate costly investment in early-stage product development to focus on its viral development and manufacturing services in Kuopio, Finland.

Shares in Ark, which has a market value of about 1.9 million pounds, were trading at 0.5 pence at 1300 GMT. ($1 = 0.6643 British pounds) (Reporting By Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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