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[From the Bloomberg Newswire, sent in by Lamar Morgan of Amiga Atlanta]
Bochem, Germany, March 1st -- Escom AG shares dropped almost 18 percent after
the company said its banks and shareholders will inject 100 million deutsche
marks ($86 million) to help it overcome a higher-than-expected 1995 loss.
The Germany computer maker and retailer said it expects a 1995 loss of 125
million marks instead of the previously forecast loss of 45 million marks. It
blamed weaker prices and declining sales.
Its shares, which were suspended Wednesday pending the announcement, opened
today at 13.50 marks, down 2.90 marks from 16.40 marks per share when trading
"The company is operating in a weak consumer market with eroding margins and
it overstretched itself in its expansion," said Patrick Shield, an analyst at
Natwest Securities in London.
Escom attributed the higher-than-expected losses to a fall in prices, weak
sales in the fourth quarter in markets including Germany and Australia, and
higher startup costs and lower sales than expected in the U.K.
Escom said that of the 100 million marks of new capital, 60 million marks will
come from an increase in Escom's credit line by major bank lenders.
"The main shareholders have guaranteed to come up with the funds," said Bernd
Wirsing, a spokesman for Escom.
Escom's main shareholders are founder Manfred Schmitt, who owns 48.5 percent
of the equity in advance of the capital increase; Quelle-Schickedanz AG & Co.,
which has 25 percent; and Seimens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, which holds
10 percent. Some 16.5 percent is owned by other investors.
"The small investors will be able to buy new shares too," said Wirsing. He
said it was "too early" to say how much the main shareholders would increase
their stakes. Wirsing said the capital will be available "within the next few
Escom's sales in 1995 were 2.35 billion marks. The company has not yet broken
them down by region.