IRVINE — Hobbled by a late payment from a customer in Brazil, Helionetics Inc., a maker of power systems and computer components, reported a loss of $9.7 million for its fiscal year ended Dec. 31 and said the company is fighting off a financial collapse.
The loss for the 1990 fiscal year compares to net income of $9.6 million for the previous year, when earnings were inflated by a onetime gain because of the company's reorganization of its debt and emergence from bankruptcy proceedings. Revenue for fiscal 1990 was $17.4 million, down 24% from the same period a year earlier.
The company also reported it was renegotiating its debts and attempting to settle suits filed by creditors and shareholders to help it survive a cash crunch, according to a filing on Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Susan Barnes, the wife of Helionetics Chairman Bernard Katz and a major shareholder, has agreed to loan the company up to $1.5 million to provide critically needed working capital, the SEC filing said.
The company makes power conversion systems for the military and computer add-on equipment.
The company attributed part of its losses to a late $2.8-million payment from Marketta International Corp., a company in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which purchased computer workstation add-on equipment from Helionetics' Definicon International subsidiary.
The late payment from Marketta has sparked a cash crisis that has "severely damaged Definicon, resulting in the loss of credit, the loss of staff, the loss of markets and the spawning of numerous lawsuits by trade creditors," the filing said.
E. Maxwell Malone, president and chief executive of Helionetics, said in January that Marketta had promised to pay no later than Feb. 28. But Helionetics subsequently sued Marketta and an affiliated Cayman Islands company, KFW Corp., in an attempt to collect the payment.
KFW Corp., controlled by Marketta owner Francisco Fusco and former Helionetics President Vincent Williams, has also been sued by KB Equities Inc., a company controlled by Helionetics' Katz and his partner George de Bell, a Helionetics director, in a dispute over rights to Definicon technology. Fusco and Williams could not be reached for comment.
Some of the money loaned by Barnes would be used to pay loans which have been declared in default in April by the company's lender, the filing said.
On May 1, the company's bank agreed to give it 60 days to come up with payments on its debts. For the year ended Dec. 31, Helionetics reported liabilities of $14.8 million and assets of $11.5 million.
The infusion from Barnes would also be used to partially repay trade creditors of the cash-strapped company that have gone unpaid since the delinquent Marketta payment, the filing said. Unfavorable outcomes in the settlement negotiations could "substantially and negatively impact" Helionetics' financial results and liquidity, the company said.
The company was sued in May by the New York office of Hill & Knowlton, which handled public relations for Helionetics. The suit, filed in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, asked for $72,000 owed by Helionetics. Helionetics' financial report was more than a month late. The company said it has yet to negotiate a definitive agreement to finance a joint venture to sell personal computers and workstations in China.