Zumtobel shares rise after CEO offers to leave

FILE PHOTO - The logo of Austrian lighting group Zumtobel is pictured at the door of an office in Vienna, Austria, February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

VIENNA (Reuters) - Shares in Austrian lighting group Zumtobel ZUMV.VI rose as much as 3.5 percent on Monday after its Chief Executive Ulrich Schumacher said he was ready to quit following a slump in revenues and a profit warning.

Shares in Zumtobel, whose business lines range from electronic components to large lighting installations, tumbled as much as 18 percent in one day in November when it issued a profit warning on lower earnings and a weak outlook.

Schumacher, who has been CEO since 2013, told the group’s supervisory board he was prepared to begin discussions on the termination of his contract if this was desired by the board. His job had been due to run until April 2020.

The board said in a statement it had rejected a similar offer to step down by Chief Financial Officer Karin Sonnenmoser, expressing its full support in her.

In the past year, Zumtobel shares lost over 31 percent of their value while European rivals Osram OSRn.DE and Philips Lighting LIGHT.AS gained 48 percent and 32 percent respectively.

In the three months through October, Zumtobel’s revenue in northern Europe, which includes its largest single market Britain, fell 26.2 percent. Its British lighting unit saw revenue fall by nearly 35 percent.

In December, two supervisory board members quit without offering an explanation.

“We currently have a sell recommendation on the stock. Given the challenging market environment we continue to believe that a fundamental turnaround is not in close proximity,” said Erste equity analyst Michael Marschallinger.

“We see Schumacher’s move as slightly positive. A lot had been going on at Zumtobel: the profit warning, two supervisory board members quitting surprisingly. We believe that new management will bring new impetus and calm to the company.”

Reporting By Shadia Nasralla, additional reporting by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Gareth Jones