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Knorr to restructure

Knorr Capital Partner, the German investment company, is downsizing its business and reducing its staff from 80, at the beginning of 2001, to under 20.

Thomas Knorr, who founded the firm in 1989, will step down as CEO and replace Matthias Weber as head of Knorr’s supervisory board. The supervisory board will be halved to three, including Dr Gunter Frank and Hajo Fritz. Manfred Frey is now the only member of the executive board.

The firm has not changed its investment strategy, investing in companies at all development stages from start-up to quoted public limited in sectors such as telecommunications, networking, software, biotech, healthcare, e-business and telematics.

In an attempt to strengthen its working capital and improve liquidity, Knorr is negotiating for the sale of up to five of its 52 portfolio companies. In a statement, the firm said if the market environment does not improve in the second half of 2002, it anticipates reporting an overall loss for the current financial year. In March, Knorr announced estimated losses of EURO14.5 million for 2001.

Knorr has also left SMAX, the small caps segment of the Deutsche Brse where it was listed for three years. This will lead to savings in accounting costs. The firm’s annual operating costs will be reduced to EURO2.5 million next year.

Casualties of the technology slump keep mounting as last month Brandts Ventures, the quoted Danish VC, filed for bankruptcy. Another Danish firm, 2M Invest announced it would close offices in London and Boston, reduce the number of investment professionals and not make any investments this year in a bid to reduce operating expenses by DKK 40 million (EURO5 million).