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NetManage draws lawsuit

The intranet software maker gets sued over allegations of insider trading and misrepresenting financial information.

NetManage (NETM), which recently got the top billing among the 50 fastest-growing Silicon Valley companies, was hit today with a shareholder lawsuit over allegations of insider trading and misrepresenting financial information.

Shareholders filed a lawsuit in California's Santa Clara Superior Court alleging company officers and directors "artificially inflated the price of the stock between April 18, 1996 to July 18, 1996." The stock during that time reached as high as 18-7/8.

Also during this time, a group of NetManage executives sold 198,672 shares valued at around $2.8 million.

The stock plummeted to as low as 7-5/8 later during the period and has since tumbled as low as 3-7/32 a share.

The intranet software maker has seen its stock erode as it posted losses that reached $12.6 million, or 29 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, compared with profits of $3.3 million or 8 cents a share a year earlier. Its revenues for the quarter tumbled to $19.4 million compared with $31.2 million a year earlier.

The company has said its poor performance was driven by slow international sales and charges. The plaintiffs allege that the stock price rose due to the issuing of "falsely positive statements and massive insider trading," according to a release by the plaintiffs' attorneys.

Back in April of last year, the company reported first-quarter profits of $5 million on growing revenues that reached $33 million. But in its next three quarters, the company posted declining revenues and profits.