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Filing Delay Slams aaiPharma

Updated from 9:57 a.m. EST

Having issued a string of bad news announcements in recent months, aaiPharma (AAII) unleashed a wave of financial setback disclosures late Tuesday, leading to the stomping of the company's already-beaten-down stock on Wednesday.

Shares of the Wilmington, N.C., drug company lost $1.48, or 18.1%, to $6.70. The stock fell as low as $5.95 in early trading.

About two hours after the markets had closed Tuesday, aaiPharma announced that it was in violation of certain bond covenants; faces a de-listing from Nasdaq, having failed to file its annual report on time; expects to make a "material adjustment" to its fourth-quarter 2003 financial report; and may be required to make similar adjustments to other quarterly reports from 2003.

In addition, the company has been informed that it may receive a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission and/or a grand jury subpoena from the Justice Department concerning sales activities now being examined by independent board members and an outside law firm. The company said late Thursday that it has not yet received subpoenas.

The company, whose CEO was replaced earlier this week by aaiPharma's founder and chairman, asked the SEC March 1 for an extension in filing its 10-K annual report. The company said it needed time to investigate what it calls "unusual sales" during the second half of 2003.

The original filing deadline was March 15; but aaiPharma missed the March 30 extended deadline. "Although the inquiry is progressing expeditiously, no timetable has been set for the completion of the review, the completion of the audit of the company's 2003 financial statements or the filing of the form 10-K," aaiPharma said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

The company noted that failure to make a timely 10-K filing "results in a default under (our) senior secured credit facility." Lenders have informed aaiPharma that under the $100 million revolving credit portion of this agreement the company cannot borrow under the revolving credit facility.

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