Able Labs Loses Another CEO

Robert Mauro was named interim chief in May.
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Updated from 1:10 p.m. EDT

Shares of

Able Laboratories

(ABRX)

fell Friday on news that the company had lost its second CEO in less than two months.

After markets had closed Friday, Able said it was "evaluating all potential strategic options available to it in light of the regulatory and financial issues it faces," including the possibility of filing for bankruptcy.

Two hours after markets closed Thursday, the generic-drug maker announced the resignation of Robert Mauro as president, interim CEO and a director. Mauro joined Able in April 2004 as president and chief operating officer.

Mauro became interim CEO of the Cranbury, N.J.-based company on May 19 after chairman and CEO Dhananjay G. Wadekar resigned.

Wadekar quit after the company said it was temporarily suspending shipments of all products to make sure it was following proper laboratory and manufacturing procedures. The announcements were so jarring that two investment banking firms, First Albany Capital and American Technology Research, both of which had buy recommendations, stopped covering Able.

On May 23, Able suspended all manufacturing and said it was recalling all products. The company, which has lost 90% of its stock value since the day before Wadekar resigned, recently canceled its annual shareholders meeting and has fired at least 200 employees.

In regular trading, the stock lost 17 cents, or 5.6%, to $2.88. But in after-hours trading, the stock fell $1.08, or 37.5%, to $1.80 after the company raised the prospect of bankruptcy after it reported receiving an inspection report from the FDA outlining manufacturing problems.

Able didn't identify the problems, adding that it would make the document public after it had filed and answer with the FDA. "Able can give no assurance ... as to if or when it will be able to resolve the regulatory issues with the FDA or resume manufacturing operations," the company said.

Able said Thursday that it is "seeking an appropriate replacement" to lead the company in resolving its regulatory issues, recalling its products and addressing it manufacturing problems. Day-to-day management will be handed by the board of directors, top managers and consultants.

Even before the two CEOs departed, Able had considerable turnover in top management. Between November 2004 and March 2005, the chief financial officer, the vice president of quality and regulatory affairs, and the vice president for generic formulations resigned. The executive vice president and general manager died in January 2005.

For the year ended Dec. 31, the company reported earnings of $14.6 million, or 75 cents a share, on revenue of $103.2 million.