IRVINE — Helionetics Inc. said Monday that it has been dropped from American Stock Exchange listings and has retained lawyers to sue the exchange, which halted trading in Helionetics shares in November.
The holding company for five high-technology firms charges that the stock exchange has treated it unfairly and is more concerned with making an example of Helionetics than with investigating the company's performance and public disclosures.
A spokeswoman for the American Stock Exchange said she could not comment on an ongoing investigation, but confirmed Helionetics' statement that it has been delisted.
Helionetics has hired the Irvine law firm of Callahan, Blaine & Williams to handle the case.
"If they say we don't meet the financial criteria" to be listed, "then I say a large majority of companies on the Amex don't, either," said Bernard Katz, the company's chairman.
In a letter to Helionetics, stock exchange officials cited the company's financial troubles, including three money-losing years in the past five, among the reasons for its delisting. Helionetics reported a loss of $21.6 million last year and has had a cumulative loss of $31.4 million since 1990.
Katz and others have insisted that the company, which began as a defense contractor, will become profitable as soon as technologies under development at its various divisions can be sold.
Exchange officials also cited capital-raising connections between Katz and two consultants who had been disciplined by the Securities and Exchange Commission.