Photo-Me shares surge on sale of US vending unit

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - Britain's Photo-Me International PHTM.L added more than ten percent to its market value on Monday, after it sold its loss-making U.S. vending business.

Photo-Me, which operates about 21,000 photo booths in railway stations, airports and shopping centres, said the sale of Auto Photo Systems Inc and its unit, Photo-Me USA LLC., would yield a small exceptional profit.

Photo-Me shares gained 13 percent to 13.25 pence at 0928 GMT, valuing the entire firm at about 48 million pounds.

No financial details were provided, but Photo-Me said the U.S. business, which operated 250 photobooths, or about 1 percent of its group total, made a pre-tax loss of 700,000 pounds ($1.39 million) on revenues of 1.2 million pounds in the fiscal year just ended.

Jean-Claude Perrottey, a former employee of Photo-Me, bought the business, the company said.

“The USA has always been a limited market for ID photography and US vending has tended to be loss-making in recent years,” Photo-Me said in the statement.

“The disposal is part of Photo-Me’s strategy to divest of small, remote and loss-making businesses and to focus on development and diversification of its well-established businesses.

“The USA remains an important market for Photo-Me’s equipment sales activities.” (Reporting by Hsu Chuang Khoo; Editing by David Cowell)