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   | 2000 Globe 100 |

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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Business / 2001 Globe 100

1. AZTEC TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS INC.
Down elevator plunging fast

5/22/2001

   

BEARS & BULLS

Old economy companies led Bay State Bulls
The shining lights of the local investment world were companies that sell sneakers, blood tests, clothes for middle-age women, and life insurance.
Continued

THE BULLS
1. J. Jill Group
2. Inverness Medical Tech.
3. Reebok Intl.
4. Bostonfed Bancorp
5. John Hancock Financial


THE BEARS
1. Aztec Tech. Partners
2. Engage Inc.
3. CMGI Inc.
4. Telaxis Communications
5. NaviSite Inc.


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ould Aztec Technology Partners, of Braintree, be the poster child for the collapse of the new economy?

As a technology consultant, Aztec's expertise spanned the breadth of emerging technology: Internet, intranet, extranet, Web, wireless, mobile. Whatever it is you wanted to do to give your company an advantage in the Internet age, Aztec or one of its subsidiaries could help you do it.

Trouble is, Aztec saddled itself with a heap of debt acquiring an array of companies, and it wasn't able to make any money offering this broad array of services. Last year, Aztec lost $40 million on revenue of $291 million. In the first quarter, the company lost $4.8 million on revenue of $42.7 million.

In the 12 months ended March 31, Aztec's shares plummeted from $7.96 to 12.5 cents, a loss of 98.4 percent. It was the largest percentage loss among publicly traded companies in Massachusetts, putting Aztec at the top of The Globe 100's list of bears.

Efforts to turn the company around have failed to produce the desired results.

First, Aztec said it would sell noncore businesses to raise cash. But the market for those businesses had already headed south, and the company later said that rather than sell at ''depressed values,'' it would instead hold on to those businesses and try to grow

them.

It took its biggest e-solutions provider, PCSI, and gave it a snappy name, Blueflame.

But efforts to spin Blueflame off into a separate company were also derailed by the sinking Internet market. A planned IPO never materialized.

Meanwhile, Aztec's stock-price decline prompted the Nasdaq Stock Market to take steps to delist the company. Aztec pleaded its case in March before Nasdaq's Listing Qualifications Panel, but is still awaiting a final answer.

Aztec's most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission suggest its troubles aren't over. A $51 million bank loan matured on April 30, and Aztec is negotiating with lenders in an effort to extend it. Aztec's former parent, US Office Products, has filed for protection from creditors in Bankruptcy Court, and Aztec says it may be liable for the other company's debts.

The bottom line? The company's independent auditors warned in its most recent annual report that Aztec may not be able to continue as a going concern.

JEFFREY KRASNER

   


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