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Hagemeyer Sells GPX Subsidiary

4/09/2004 09:33:00 AM Eastern

St. Louis — Hagemeyer sold a majority stake in its GPX subsidiary to a private investment firm and to a GPX management team led by president and CEO Bill Fetter. Terms weren’t disclosed.

In a separate development, GPX added a new $45 million credit line to an existing $7 million line to support growth.

Netherlands-based Hagemeyer has been divesting non-core assets as part of a restructuring to turn itself around. For the year ending December 2003, Hagemeyer sales fell 4.9 percent to $7.7 billion, and it posted a net loss of $387 million. GPX accounted for about $150 million of Hagemeyer’s volume and in 2003 "recorded strong organic growth," Hagemeyer’s annual report stated.

In 2003, only about 10 percent of Hagemeyer’s sales volume had been in consumer goods, such as consumer electronics, sport and leisure goods, and fashion, according to company reports. Hagemeyer's core business is value-added business-to-business distribution of products used by factories in the manufacturing process.

GPX markets consumer electronics products under the Bantam, GPX and Yorx brands through mass merchants, specialty retail stores, variety and drug chains, distributors home shopping networks, direct mail and premium accounts.

The ownership change follows a restructuring and product-line revamping begun since Fretter became president and CEO in March 2003. "Over the past year, we have made solid progress in repositioning GPX for improved performance and long-term growth," he said. "We are experiencing strong sales of existing products and are enthusiastic about the introduction of our new 2004 product line." Changes include an in-house design team and an entirely new product line, he said. The company also recently relocated its headquarters and distribution center to a new 330,000-square-foot facility to improve efficiencies and customer service, he added.

The investment firm is Synergy Enterprises of Colts Neck, N.J.

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