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Cleans Out Wallets Right Down To The Shine


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CLEANS OUT WALLETS--RIGHT DOWN TO THE SHINE

Investors in Harvey Universal, a cleaning-products company in Torrance, Calif., have seen their stake virtually cleaned out. Last fall, Harvey came to market at $7.75 per share. It has fallen to less than one-fifth of that.

Harvey had a hot story to sell to the market for initial public offerings, then going strong. It billed its products as environmentally safe and boasted a Japanese distribution setup. "We felt the company had some sizzle," says Dennis Wittman, vice-president for finance. Harvey raised $10 million, using $3 million of that to pay off bank debt and much of the rest to bolster sales channels.

Unfortunately, those sales channels needed more than bolstering. It turns out the Japan deal is still up in the air. And Harvey admits many sales reps ueren't up to speed--not following leads aggressively, for instance. In this year's first quarter, Harvey announced a 39 cents-per-share loss, vs. a 25 cents loss in the same period of 1993.

CEO Larry Harvey, who founded the company in 1982 and expanded into cleaning products in 1992, says the problems are being solved and sales are starting to grow. The company, he says, is now pushing investor relations, "doing the missionary work we should have done last year."


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