Straumann Investor Sells a 10% Stake to Singapore Fund

Straumann Holding AG’s vice chairman sold a 10 percent stake in the dental-implant manufacturer to Government of Singapore Investment Corp. to meet other financial commitments, making the fund its second-largest shareholder.

The sale reduces Thomas Straumann’s stake to 17 percent and increases the Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund’s holding to 14 percent, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement today. Mark Hill, a spokesman for Straumann Holding, declined to comment on the price the stake was sold at or the specific reason the vice chairman needed the money.

Straumann’s stock has fallen 71 percent from its 2007 peak as the recession prompted consumers to cut back on discretionary spending. Thomas Straumann cited the “prevailing weak economic environment” as the reason he had to raise funds to meet other investment obligations. Switzerland’s Tages-Anzeiger newspaper reported Nov. 15 he was selling assets such as hotels in Gstaad and Basel because of the decline in Straumann’s share price, citing people it didn’t identify.

“Given the press coverage well in advance of the sale, we view this news as a positive for Straumann, as the sale of a significant stake was achieved without having shares flood the open market,” Lisa Clive, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd., wrote in a note to clients.

Implied Price

A non-executive board member of Straumann sold 1.52 million shares for 150 million Swiss francs ($162 million) on Nov. 23, according to a stock exchange filing that didn’t identify the seller. That implies a price of 98.45 francs a share, a 6.7 percent discount to the closing price that day.

The shares gained 2.3 percent to close at 107.90 francs in Zurich, giving the company a market value of 1.69 billion francs.

Thomas Straumann, the grandson of the company’s founder, also agreed to a one-year lock-up period during which he won’t reduce his stake.

“My belief in the long-term future of Straumann is undiminished,” Thomas Straumann, 49, said in the statement. “Straumann remains my core investment, and I fully intend to continue contributing to its direction as a principal shareholder for the long term.”

Dental implants typically are paid for out of pocket by patients. Straumann’s sales dropped 6 percent last year and rose 0.1 percent in the first nine months of 2012.

Straumann’s predecessor company was founded in 1954 as a maker of alloys for use in timing instruments and materials testing.

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