New owners to cut quarter of jobs at German TV maker Loewe

FRANKFURT Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:48am EST

FRANKFURT Jan 17 (Reuters) - New investors in German television maker Loewe plan to cut about a quarter of its 550 jobs to try to turn around the company, which filed for insolvency in October after losing out to fierce competition amid falling prices for TV sets.

Loewe said on Thursday its core television business had been bought by a group of investors including a former senior manager at Apple and Bang & Olufsen for an undisclosed price and that they would keep the brand name while liquidating and delisting the company shell.

"We will make the Loewe brand available to a broader and younger audience in Europe, Russia and China," the new owners said in a statement.

Loewe, started by brothers Siegmund and David Ludwig Loewe in 1923, first sought protection from creditors in July, after a disastrous strategy to combat the economic downturn by focusing on premium customers backfired.

Consumers in Europe, where Loewe generates 97 percent of its sales, shied away from paying prices between 1,000 euros and 5,000 euros for flat-screen TV sets, as Samsung and LG Electronics among other rivals presented far cheaper mass-market models.

Loewe's annual sales dropped to 250 million euros in 2012 from 374 million in 2008.

German union IG Metall welcomed the salvage of Loewe but criticised the new job cuts. It said workers had already made some financial sacrifices to save jobs and expressed disappointment that some would now have to leave after all.

Loewe shares were up 2.8 percent at 3.26 euros by 1515 GMT, after rising almost a quarter to a two-month high of 3.949 euros earlier in the day. (Reporting by Jens Hack; Writing by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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