The telecommunications and technology group, Ascom, is selling its mailing systems unit to the French company, Neopost in a deal that will net the indebted company around SFr280 million ($163.5 million).
The transaction with Neopost will happen in two stages. First, Ascom is selling its North American mailing systems activities for SFr195 million.
At a later point, Ascom will also sell its mailing systems activities outside North America. Ascom and Neopost are currently engaged in talks with the British competition authorities and an agreement is expected later this year.
Ascom Mailing Systems, which is best known for producing franking machines, had sales revenues last year of SFr177.5 million.
The sale of the unit is part of a wider strategy of refocusing the business and improving Ascom's financial position. At the end of 2000, the company had debts estimated at SFr800 million.
The cash handling unit, terminals and carrier access have already been sold.
The company recently said it might consider selling off its real estate portfolio as well. Ascom shares plunged to an all time low of SFr15 at the end of January forcing the company to rush out a statement saying its financial position was stable.
The share price has since recovered some ground and stands at around SFr23.50.
swissinfo with agencies
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