Esselte to specialize in office products and labeling systems

Esselte to specialize in office products and labeling systems after the divestment of Nielsen & Bainbridge New structure for the Esselte Group The divestment of Nielsen & Bainbridge is an important step towards implementing the strategy established by Esselte last autumn to increase the value of Esselte by streamlining and developing business areas into strong and independent business units. The Esselte Group will now be restructured and consist of two independent subsidiary groups that can be individually developed for listing on the stock exchange. Meto will therefore be transferred to the Parent Company Esselte AB from Esselte's U.S. holding company, which owns the business area today. After this is effected, Esselte AB will directly own Meto and Esselte Office Products as two independent subsidiaries. The costs for changing the Group's structure, which will involve tax expenses of approximately SEK 100 million, will provide the greatest possible freedom of action in the continuing development of Meto and Esselte Office Products. As reported at the Annual General Meeting, potential investments and capital needs in the remaining two companies, Esselte Office Products and Meto, will be analyzed before a final decision is made about utilizing the cash received from the sale of Nielsen & Bainbridge. A cash dividend to shareholders is still possible, however, and a decision will be made in the next few months. Esselte Office Products The office products market is being internationalized more and more and new operating methods are being developed at the same time as manufacturers and distributors become fewer in number and larger in size. This trend has intensified lately, and to achieve Esselte's goal - to consolidate Esselte Office Products' position as a leading company - all possibilities must be actively utilized, such as strategic acquisitions, new product launches and the development of emerging growth markets in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. Esselte Office Products has already achieved sales successes in these countries through recently established subsidiaries. Meto In view of the rapidly expanding market for advanced labeling systems, Meto has substantial growth potential. Labels are becoming increasingly sophisticated carriers of information and the trend is towards the integration of labels with add-on functions for price marking, anti-theft protection, certification of origin, logistics control and other applications. Meto possesses substantial technical competence in this area. This expertise, combined with Meto's strong market position in the retail industry, and among its suppliers, gives Meto good possibilities to achieve a leading position in the global market by developing its own operations and acquiring companies. After the divestment of Nielsen & Bainbridge, the Esselte Group now consists of two independent business units - Esselte Office Products and Meto - which are global market leaders in office products and labeling systems, respectively. The Parent Company, Esselte AB, focuses on creating added value by being an active owner and implementing structural measures to streamline operations. After the divestment, Group sales amount to approximately SEK 11.7 billion and the number of employees totals 7,800 (1997 figures). For further information please contact Bengt Wikander, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, at Esselte AB. Phone +46 8 545 21 900 (switchboard), +46 8 545 21 904 (direct line) or +46 708 92 24 31 (mobile phone).

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