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Investment

Investors defend pull-out from rescue deal with insolvent German TV maker Loewe

Investors around former senior Apple manager Jan Gesmar-Larsen have regretted their withdrawal from a deal to salvage insolvent German TV maker Loewe. A lack of bank funding has made the pull-out inevitable, they claim.

Panthera would reject legal claims announced by Loewe in connection with the cancelled purchase of the German television maker, the Munich-based investment group said Tuesday.

Panthera regretted its withdrawal from the contract, the firm added, which, however, became inevitable after banks had refused to support funding for the deal.

"This has finally stopped the launch of New Loewe GmbH's operative business," Panthera spokesman Stefan Kalum told reporters in Munich.

On Tuesday, insolvent German luxury TV manufacturer Loewe announced it would take legal steps against Panthera, claiming there was no legal basis for them to withdraw from the purchase contract.

Panthera, which includes former Apple Europe chief Jan Gesmar-Larsen, bought Loewe for an undisclosed sum in January, promising to keep 400 out of 550 jobs at the firm's main manufacturing site in Kronach, Germany. According to a report in the German daily FAZ on Tuesday, Panthera was itself struggling financially.

Loewe - a big brand struggles to survive

Meanwhile, Loewe Chief Financial Officer Rolf Rickmeyer announced that apart from legal action against Panthera the company was seeking a new partner for Loewe's core television business. Talks had already begun and the party in question had put forward a promising offer during Loewe's previous investor hunt.

"If we can reach an agreement quickly, we may yet be able to secure the future of Loewe," Rickmayer said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Loewe's management hopes creditors will agree to give them more time for the search at a meeting scheduled for late Tuesday.

Founded in 1923, Loewe is one of the oldest German television manufacturers. It's strategy to combat low-cost competition from Asian manufacturers with a focus on luxury television sets for premium customers failed to materialize, driving the company into insolvency in October last year.

uhe/mz (dpa, Reuters)

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