Liquidation lays off 20 percent of staff Inc., an Internet auction company that handles surplus merchandise

and excess inventory from the public and private sectors, laid off 18 employees

— 20 percent of its staff — on Jan. 11, a company spokesman said.

The move does not affect the government surplus team, said the spokesman,

Hunter Hoffmann. The two-year-old Washington, D.C.-based company, which

provides an online marketplace primarily to sell surplus goods business-to-business,

entered the government sector last summer. "We're trying to be smart, to

streamline and have the right people in place so we can be profitable,"

Hoffman said. He said a leaner company would improve the focus on its consumer

goods, construction, aerospace and defense and retail markets.

The privately held company boasts an online network of 100,000 traders

across 107 countries and charges a 10 percent fee for all successful transactions.

It lists only qualified buyers and sellers and offers assurances, such as

inspection of merchandise before a sale is finalized.

Last fall, helped Georgia sell seven truckloads of surplus

copy paper and just auctioned a 65-foot research and diving vessel from

the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for $160,000. The state is auctioning

other equipment on the site as well.

Recently, the company sold 20 voting machines for a Wisconsin county

government, and the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department

is auctioning surplus IBM Corp. equipment — including mainframe computer

systems, printers, control units, data service units and monitors. The company

is pursing several more federal and state contracts, Hoffman said., which has offices in Munich, Germany, and Paris, now

has 62 employees, Hoffman said. It has secured financing through 2002, but

is looking for opportunities for additional financing, he added.

The 18 employees, who worked in the technology and sales and marketing

divisions, were all based in Washington, D.C. Hoffman said they received

a severance package and the option of help to find new employment.


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