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Samas to Complete Strategic Options Review

Monday 18 February 2008

Dutch office-furniture maker Samas Groep NV said last week that it expects to complete the review of its strategic options aimed at restoring profitability in the second half of March 2008.
\"Given the limited financial flexibility and the general economic environment this is a challenging process. The various alternatives within the study of strategic options are all aimed at creating shareholder value in the long run,\" the company said in a trading update for the third quarter of its fiscal 2007/08 last Wednesday.

At end-October 2007 Samas announced it would study its strategic options in an attempt to tackle the bigger-than-expected problems with the introduction of its Harmony IT project.

The company posted an operating profit excluding non-operating items US$2.9 million for the third quarter of its fiscal year ending on March 31.

Revenue increased by 9.0 percent year-on-year, while gross profit margin remained roughly in line with the first half of the year.

Looking ahead, Samas said it remained cautious for the operating profit for the second half of 2007/08. The company, though, added it expected that in the fourth quarter the figure would be below the third-quarter number and possibly negative.

Samas CFO Mark van den Biggelaar said the third quarter was traditionally the quarter with the highest revenue given the seasonal pattern. The company has a reasonably stable cost basis, which means that if revenue goes down, operating profit will also decrease, Van den Biggelaar stressed.

He declined to say when the firm expected to return to profitability, the highest priority within the company.

\"This is not an easy fix given the current economic conditions,\" the CFO noted. Houten-based Samas also said it had reached an agreement with its banking syndicate on new covenants with regard to its existing credit arrangements until March 2009. The terms and conditions of the credit facility that expired at the end of 2007 and was then extended have not been changed, Van den Biggelaar pointed out.

Samas also announced it had sold its inactive real estate in Freiburg, southwestern Germany, for US$19 million.



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