German TV maker Loewe files for insolvency


Troubled German high-end TV maker Loewe AG filed for insolvency on Tuesday and needs to find an investor before the end of the year to avert closure, its chief executive told Reuters.

Loewe fell into difficulties after it failed to keep up with mass-market rivals such as Samsung <005930.KS> and LG Electronics <066570.KS>, and struggled to cope with a slide in the average price of TV sets.

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It filed for protection from creditors' demands in July to give it breathing space while it sought an investor and restructured the company.

The company, founded 90 years ago in Berlin, has sufficient funds to keep operations running until the end of the year but thereafter "it would be over" without an investor, CEO Matthias Harsch said.

Still, the company expects to reach an agreement with an investor by the end of this month.

"We have six bids from investors from which we will choose in the next four weeks," Harsch said.

Loewe in July struck a strategic partnership with China's Hisense International Co., Ltd <600060.SS>. The state-owned company brought technology and sales expertise in Asia to Loewe, but no fresh money, leaving Loewe still looking for an investor.

Earlier this year, Loewe posted a 39 percent slump in first half sales of 76.5 million euros ($1.04 billion) and a net loss of 26.7 million euros for the period.

Its shares, which once traded at over 145 euros in 2000, dropped almost 50 percent to a record low of 3.20 euros on Tuesday and were down 35 percent at 4.00 euros at 0932 GMT.

($1 = 0.7387 euros)

(Reporting by Jens Hack; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Louise Heavens)