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Loewe Shutters U.S. Operations

U.S. sales operations of Loewe Opta, the German-based high-end video display manufacturer, will close for good at the end of the year, after negotiations with potential financial backers were unsuccessful, the company’s former marketing senior VP said.

Paul Fredrickson said managers of the U.S. sales operations tried to keep the company afloat by lining up new financial partners after Loewe Opta’s parent company announced in June that it was ending its financial involvement with the North American operations. But those negotiations were ultimately unsuccessful.

Fredrickson and Kevin Sullivan, who managed marketing and sales of the U.S. operations, respectively, have left the company, and only a skeleton crew remains through the balance of the year to complete the closure.

“All of the inventory has been sold out to our dealers,” Fredrickson said. “Everything is winding down now.”

Loewe contracted out service, warranty and technical support for its products to Panurgy Corp. of Denville, N.J.

Loewe Opta’s North American sales company distributed products — primarily advanced direct-view CRT televisions, as well as some DLP rear-projection and flat-panel SKUs — to approximately 400 audio/video specialty dealers. Fredrickson said cost pressures in Europe in 2003 made it impossible for the company to commit resources to the development of product lines for the 2004 North American road map. Fredrickson said a 25 percent increase in the Euro exchange rate had a major impact on production costs.