Aetrium Incorporated Files Definitive Proxy and Opposes the Eberwein Group's Attempt to Seize Control of the Company

Aetrium Incorporated Files Definitive Proxy and Opposes the Eberwein Group's
Attempt to Seize Control of the Company

Company is Disappointed Eberwein Group Has Refused Multiple Settlement Offers

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 16, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aetrium Incorporated
(Nasdaq:ATRM) filed a definitive proxy statement today in connection with a
special meeting of shareholders to be held on November 26, 2012 and issued the
following open letter to shareholders:

Dear shareholder;

Currently our semiconductor equipment industry is very depressed due to the
continuing suppressed worldwide economic conditions that have driven down both
our revenues and our stock prices. A group of dissident shareholder activists,
spearheaded by Jeffrey Eberwein, are using this situation as an opportunity to
attempt to take control of the company.To this end, they have called the
upcoming shareholders meeting on November 26 in an effort to replace our

The demand for semiconductors has been severely depressed since the worldwide
financial collapse of 2008, and the impact of that on semiconductor equipment
companies, particularly in our segment of the industry, has been crippling.
Industry forecasters are now predicting a rebound in the semiconductor
industry that would offer more positive industry conditions for us in the
second half of 2013. It is critical to shareholder value that we take the
right actions at the right times to maneuver through these difficult
conditions to position ourselves to take best advantage of improving industry
conditions when they turn around. It is essential that we know our customers
and remain nimble to respond to their changing requirements.

Our response to these difficult times has been to continue our efforts to
expand our customer base through targeted product evaluations at large users
of our types of equipment. As a result of those efforts, in 2011 we added the
largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world to our reliability test
customer base, a customer base that already included most of the largest
semiconductor manufacturers. We have also recently added a top 10 and a near
top 10 analog manufacturer as well as six other semiconductor manufacturers
and contract test suppliers to our test handler customer base, and we are
close to completing a product evaluation at another top 10 analog
manufacturer. Analog manufacturers are important potential customer targets
for us because analog devices comprise about half of all integrated circuit
semiconductors and are often made in packages most efficiently handled with
gravity feed test handlers like ours. These successes reflect the quality and
competitiveness of our products as well as our operational strategies, and we
believe we are positioned to outperform our industry as growth returns to the
semiconductor industry.

The Eberwein group has demanded from the outset that we unconditionally turn
control of the company over to them. Our reasons for refusing that demand are
very straightforward. The Eberwein group has no experience in the
semiconductor equipment industry or the semiconductor industry that we serve,
and they have no strategic plan for moving forward. Particularly in these very
challenging industry conditions, it would not serve the interests of the
company or our shareholders to turn control of the company over to an
inexperienced group without a strategic plan or a direction.

The Eberwein group in its latest SEC filing for the first time claims to have
a plan for moving forward. I urge you to review that "plan." It reads like the
table of contents to a first year business class textbook, contains about as
much content, and fully demonstrates the Eberwein group's lack of knowledge of
our company, our products and our customers.

In their solicitation materials the Eberwein group has made several unfounded
charges against us that should be addressed. First, they say that our officers
and directors have excessively compensated themselves to the detriment of our
shareholders. Our directors have never received any fee for their services.
Other than health insurance coverage that we have extended to some of them,
their sole source of compensation for their services is stock options. In
other words, they are never compensated unless our shareholders profit by
increases in our stock price.

My salary rate and the salary rate of Doug Hemer, our Chief Administrative
Officer, were last set in 2007 at $280,000 and $205,000 per year respectively,
consistent with industry norms and the first increases in salary rates for
either of us in over 10 years. Because of the current difficult industry
conditions, we have both been voluntarily working under reduced salaries of
$140,000 and $133,000 per year since the beginning of this year. All of our
other officers have been working under reduced salaries since September of
2011. There is no excessive compensation paid to officers or directors at
Aetrium and there never has been. On the contrary, proactive voluntary
reduction of officer salaries has always been one of the first actions the
company has taken to address challenging industry conditions.

The Eberwein group charges in its proxy statement that reported compensation
of $2.15 million for our top four executives during the period 2010-2011 was
excessive. That amount included about $580,000 in one-time retirement benefits
granted to me and Mr. Hemer in 2010, payable over two years after our
respective retirements, in recognition of our contributions to the company
over the previous 25 and 15 years, respectively. The retirement benefits are
equal to about 1.2 times our respective annual salary rates, well within
industry norms. The 2010-2011 reported compensation also included about
$195,000 in severance to John Pollock under a settlement reached on his
termination as President and CEO in November 2011, which is equal to one year
of Mr. Pollock's salary rate, is being paid over the year 2012, and again is
well within industry norms. Finally, that amount includes the accounting value
of options granted in 2010 at the exercise price of $2.35 per share. Those
options do not generate any real value to the recipients unless and until all
Aetrium shareholders have first enjoyed the benefit of an increase in our
stock price to at least $2.35 per share. The remaining amount of reported
compensation during the period 2010-2011 for our top four executives amounts
to about $180,000 per year per officer, which is certainly well within
industry norms.

The Eberwein group also charges that we have somehow interfered with their
attempts to gain support for their agenda. They point to the amount of time it
has taken us to clear our proxy statement with the SEC.(They neglect to tell
you that 11 days after we filed our preliminary proxy, they submitted their
bylaw proposal that we had to address and incorporate into our proxy.) We
are also very disappointed in the delay as we are eager to set the record
straight for our shareholders. Our proxy statement, which addresses the
reasons for the Board's opposition to the Eberwein group's proposals in great
detail, is being mailed today. In any event, certainly the progress of our SEC
review has not slowed or impeded in any way how the Eberwein group has chosen
to solicit support for their position.

The Eberwein group has offered some rather bizarre interpretations of our
bylaws, I assume to make it easier to get their proposals approved. They claim
we are being unfair because we don't accept their positions. We are
straightforward people and our bylaws are straightforward documents. We and
our bylaws present the Eberwein group with a very straightforward path and
fair opportunity for presenting their proposals. If they can build legitimate
prevailing support for their proposals, then of course they should prevail. We
just don't see how blaming the plain meaning of our bylaws helps resolve the
Board control issue the Eberwein group has pressed.

We believe this matter should be resolved far short of a shareholders meeting.
We have always been keenly interested in the views and suggestions of our
shareholders, and we believe a shareholder group holding 17% of our shares, if
interested, should have a voice on our Board. However, the Eberwein group has
not wavered from its demand for complete control of our Board. Their offer of
settlement is that we agree now that they will have 100% control of our Board
by our next regular shareholders meeting, and that in the interim they will
have a 50% position on our Board, giving them effective veto power. In other
words, they demand absolute control by next May, and in the interim they
demand the right to block the Board from taking any action. As I said earlier,
it would not serve the interests of the company and all of our shareholders to
turn control of the company over to an inexperienced group without a strategic
plan or direction.

Our proposal to the Eberwein group, which we have been offering to them since
they met with us in September, is to take a minority position on our Board. We
have offered them four seats on a ten member board, a 40% position on our
board for a group that holds17% of our shares. Their position on our Board
would give them the opportunity to learn about our company, our industry and
the industry we serve, and offer up their ideas on how we can improve on
delivering value to our shareholders. If we have not come to agreement with
the Eberwein group on Board control prior to our 2013 shareholders meeting, we
would put the issue of Board control to our shareholders.

We cannot think of anything more we can offer the Eberwein group to resolve
this matter while honoring our fiduciary obligations to the company and all of
our shareholders.

I hope you will carefully read our proxy statement when you receive it and
carefully consider our position. Additionally, I hope that you will demand of
the Eberwein group that they participate cooperatively in our company, and
that they contribute their talents and ideas to the benefit of all of our
shareholders in a positive and constructive manner.

Yours truly,

Joseph C. Levesque


The company and certain of its directors and executive officers are soliciting
proxies in connection with the special meeting. The company today filed its
definitive proxy statement (the "Proxy Statement") with the Securities and
Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The Proxy Statement contains information
regarding the direct and indirect interests of these solicitors in the
COMPANY AND THE SPECIAL MEETING. We expect to mail the Proxy Statement to
investors today. The Proxy Statement is available free of charge at the SEC's
website at and at

The Aetrium Incorporatedlogo is available at

CONTACT: Doug Hemer
         Aetrium Incorporated
         (651) 773-4274

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