Presstek sells Lasertel unit


Presstek has sold off its money-losing Lasertel division for $10 million, the company announced Monday, jettisoning the Phoenix, Ariz.-based unit that has been a financial drain on the commercial printing equipment manufacturer ever since Lasertel’s founding a decade ago.The sale to SELEX Galileo Inc. will result in $8 million in cash and $2 million in laser diode inventory for Presstek’s future product requirements. Selex will take over the Lasertel’s Phoenix lease. Presstek expects to realize a $500,000 gain on the deal, and it plans the use the proceeds to pay down debt.The cash proceeds will help Presstek – based in Greenwich, Conn., but with major facilities in Hudson -- to pay down debt and open up a new three-year $25 million, low-interest revolving loan with PNC Bank.The Lasertel sale, which was completed on Friday, culminates a two-year effort to sell off the division, which was founded in 2000 to secure the company’s supply of laser diodes. It’s not clear how much money Presstek sunk into the division, but a financial filing cited some $17 million in capital spending “primarily related to building improvements and capital equipment for Lasertel’s potential expansion”In 2001, during its first full year in 2001, the subsidiary recorded a net loss of $11.3 million. Those losses have slowed in more recent years, but over the last 3-3/4 years, the division -- which represents less than a tenth of Presstek’s assets -- has resulted in a net loss of $6.65 million, with close to a $1 million loss in the first three quarters of 2009.Presstek’s stock price closed at $3.29 Monday, up 29 cents. – BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW
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