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Singulus CEO shock resignation

Barely a month after briefing Bloomberg on the restructuring of the company to contain losses incurred owing to a lower-than expected Blu-ray replication line take-up market, Singulus CEO Stefan Baustert unexpectedly resigned, stepping down this week "by mutual consent with the Supervisory Board."

The Board has appointed the company's Supervisory Board Chairman, Roland Lacher to the Executive Board with immediate effect for the period up to 31 March. Lacher will take on the role of CEO and return to the Supervisory Board as of 1 April 2010 when Stefan Rinck will take up the post of CEO.

“While I have every confidence in Stefan Baustert's integrity and his abilities in the financial sector, the company needs someone with a stronger technology background and entrepreneurial vision to take it forward at this difficult time," Lacher told One-to-One.

This change at the helm come after disappointing half-year figures for the company, with predictions that the second half of the year would be difficult, with sales in the range of €105-125 million for the business year 2009 – half last year’s figure of €212.1 million. Singulus also expected sales of Blu-ray manufacturing lines to fall by half this year as replicators upgrade existing equipment rather than buy new systems.

In view of the weak expectations for the remainder of the year, the company had outlined a restructuring plan to contain losses incurred so far. "The goal is to achieve an improvement on the results in 2010, even in an environment of significantly lower sales volumes," according to the statement. Adjustments and cost saving measures will, said the statement, mean the loss of up to 190 employees globally, with 80 at the Kahl headquarters among those affected.

The expected one-time restructuring charges amount to about €7 million and will result in savings of personnel expenses of €11-12 million from 2010. "We will save enough by the end of the year to be able to survive next year with substantially lower sales," Baustert had told Bloomberg, adding that part of the problem is that, rather than invest in new systems, customers are instead spending money to make their existing equipment produce discs faster.

On the bright side, Microservice in Brazil and Toyo Recordings in Japan both made the decision to invest in the company’s BLULINE II Blu-ray manufacture.

For its part, Singulus Mastering has announced the appointment of a new technical director which, the company says, will strengthen its R&S department. Roland Tacken will take up his new post, with responsibilities covering all Singulus Mastering R&D activities, on 1 September. Since November of last year, Tacken has been involved in managing the Phase Transition Mastering (PTM) process development for the CrystalLine project.

Story filed 24.08.09

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