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Investors call "time" on Samas Groep

Thursday 4 June 2009

Dutch office-furniture maker Samas Groep NV saw its stock drop more than 60% Wednesday after unveiling plans to sell its remaining businesses.

The ailing company said on Wednesday it did not expect to distribute any proceeds from the sale to its shareholders as its business in Germany and central and eastern Europe would be sold at a book loss. The planned divestment will be put up to the vote at a shareholders\' meeting on June 19.

Samas is selling its remaining activities because it is not able to find sufficient cash to finance them. According to CFO Mark van den Biggelaar, there is much pressure on the company to divest from the units. He added that they had to be sold in order their continuity to be guaranteed.

Following the news, Samas\'s stock was trading down 64.69% to EUR 0.101 at 1659 CET on Euronext Amsterdam.

The announcement comes after last week the company said it had sold its business in Benelux for USD$7.1 million, noting it might need to dispose of its remaining units too, with the proceeds going towards debt reduction.

According to Tom Muller, a Theodoor Gilissen analyst, the company must have said already last week that nothing would remain for its shareholders. But Van den Biggelaar noted that new facts had appeared in the past week, making certain that only an empty holding would remain. He did not elaborate further though.

David Tomic of investor group VEB commented that it was not clear at the moment on what shareholders would have to vote on June 19. There is no definitive agreement about the remaining activities and the company has not said anything about the price, he said.

Samas is currently in talks on the sale of the activities in Germany and CEE, but it does not expect to sign a deal before June 19.

The office-furniture maker reported losses for the last several years and in 2007 it found itself in financial troubles, which made it seek help from banks and shareholders.

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