- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

FastComm Communications Corp. said yesterday that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

It will be the second time in nearly four years that the Sterling, Va., company files for protection from creditors.

The company reported total assets of $3.1 million and liabilities of $8.4 million at the close of its fiscal third quarter, which ended Jan. 26.

FastComm makes telecommunications equipment for companies including Nortel Networks Ltd. and Lucent Technologies Inc. to bridge gaps between incompatible telecom networks.

The company said its board of directors decided to file for bankruptcy protection at a special meeting on Thursday evening and that it will retain legal counsel and file the petition quickly. FastComm filed for bankruptcy protection in June 1998 and emerged in May 1999, but it has been unable to overcome falling revenue.

FastComm President Peter Madsen said earlier this year that sales were down because of the slow economy.

Company executives could not be reached for comment yesterday.

During its fiscal third quarter, the company lost $4.1 million on revenue of $949,799, down 47 percent from $1.8 million in revenue a year earlier.

The company spent $3.2 million during the first nine months of its fiscal year. FastComm had just $204,000 in cash on hand at the end of January.

FastComm cut its work force from 103 to 44 during the first nine months of its fiscal year, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company also consolidated two Virginia offices. The changes are expected to cut FastComm's operating costs by more than $1 million annually, the company said in a regulatory filing.

FastComm's stock closed yesterday at 2.5 cents a share in over-the-counter trading, down 50 percent from Thursday's close.

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