Leica Raises €23 Million in Fresh Capital

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*August 31, 2005 –*The German camera maker Leica has successfully executed a stock offering that will import €22.95 million ($28.2 million) into the struggling company’s cash holdings.

The 13.5 million share offering, which was the subject of an unsuccessful lawsuit brought by four major institutional investors seeking to block it, aimed to raise money to help the company focus its products as it struggles to compete in the digital marketplace. Leica suffered a loss of €9.3 million on sales of €70.6 million during the first 9 months of the 2004-2005 fiscal year.

Leica recently emerged from a restructuring effort that saw the installation of a new chairman as well as the implementation of a plan designed to trim the company’s inventory. Leica also plans on focusing on the development of new cameras in partnership with other manufacturers, rather than expanding its in-house research and development.

Leica currently supplies some of the optical technology for some of Panasonic’s consumer digital cameras and camcorders but has said in a previous announcement that they would like to develop a new line of compact cameras, expanding their offerings above the current M and R lines.

As part of its restructuring, Leica established its own sales company this past March, Leica Camera Japan Co., in partnership with Hermès Japan. This was done in an effort to increase the company’s exposure in the second largest camera market in the world. Hermès Japan is a unit of the luxury goods giant Hermès International SCA, one of the institutional investors who brought the initial lawsuit against Leica that sought to block the offering.

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