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Klaus Heubeck offers to buy firm back from FJH

GERMANY - Professor Klaus Heubeck, former owner of German pensions advisor Heubeck AG, has made an offer to buy back the company from loss-making FJH, IPE has learned.

IPE reported last month that the Munich-based insurance software firm was considering selling Heubeck just 17 months after buying it.

Sources familiar with FJH’s plans said it has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers in Germany to find a buyer for Heubeck, adding that PWC was aware of Professor Heubeck’s bid.

IPE was not able to determine the value of the bid. Analysts have said Heubeck could be worth between 10 and 12 million euros – although people familiar with the situation say it could be much more.

Heubeck AG and FJH refused to comment. “It’s not our policy to comment on rumours,” said FJH spokeswoman Martina Faßbender.

The news of Professor Heubeck’s bid comes a day after FJH unexpectedly postponed its third-quarter results until November 15. Faßbender said the postponement was the result of a “delay in compiling the third-quarter results”.

For the first half of 2004, FJH had a pre-tax loss of 11.6 million euros as clients cut their IT spending. The loss compared with a profit of 12.6 million euros for the first half of 2003.

Between a bruising first-half loss and 25.8 million in debt, half of which is short-term, FJH may feel it has no choice but to sell the profitable Heubeck to stay afloat.

Six months after buying Heubeck, FJH, a quoted company, faced unsubstantiated charges of falsifying its accounts, which led to a heavy sell-off of its shares.

Its plunge into the red during the first half of 2004 also prompted its dismissal from the TecDax, Germany’s index for technology and growth stocks. The share is currently trading at five euros, a fraction of its all-time high of 76 euros in mid-2001 and down from the 25 euros it hit when it bought Heubeck.

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