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Lasermed Financing Deal Canceled : Staar Surgical Arrangement ‘Bogged Down in Legalisms’

Times Staff Writer

Lasermed Corp., a struggling Costa Mesa surgical equipment company, said Tuesday that a proposed $500,000 financing arrangement with Staar Surgical Co. Inc. of Monrovia has been called off.

Lasermed is anxious to raise money because it has a negative net worth of about $400,000 and in recent months has been forced to lay off about half of its 23 employees.

The two companies are still exploring possible marketing ventures. Staar sells elastic lenses inserted in the eye after cataract surgery, and Lasermed makes equipment for ophthalmic surgery.

“We are still quite willing to work with them on a marketing arrangement,” said Marshall Sparks, Staar’s chief financial officer, in a phone interview Tuesday. “The whole idea in the first place was the synergy in the marketplace and that synergy is still a potential.”

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Sparks said that under a letter of intent signed May 15, Staar was to raise about $500,000 for Lasermed through a private placement of Lasermed stock. However, regulatory delays and other problems prompted Staar to drop the plan. “The thing bogged down in legal-isms,” said Sparks.

Meanwhile, Lasermed stock is trading under a special exception granted by the National Assn. of Securities Dealers Inc. In early April, NASD officials told Lasermed that the company no longer met the capital requirements for inclusion in the NASD’s automated stock quotations system.

However, on June 17, NASD granted Lasermed a temporary extension for the stock to continue trading until July 31. The company’s common stock has been selling for 50 cents a share on the over-the-counter market, according to Jim Ashby, vice president of finance.

Ashby said the company is talking to several potential investors. But so far, the company has not signed any new letters of intent.

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For the calendar first quarter, Lasermed reported a net loss of $458,000 on revenues of $102,000, compared to a net loss of $354,000 on revenues of $68,000 in the first quarter of 1984.

Lasermed raised $2.5 million in a public stock offering in February, 1984, but reported a net loss last year of $1.7 million on revenues of $566,907.

“The second quarter probably will be better than the first quarter, but I can’t say it will be profitable,” Ashby said.


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