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March 21, 2003

HUNGARY: Raba shares fall as CEO given marching orders – report

Shares in Hungary's Raba fell nearly two percent on Friday after the commercial vehicle maker asked its chief executive to leave and said he would not seek to renew his tenure, Reuters reported.

By bcusack

Shares in Hungary’s Raba fell nearly two percent on Friday after the commercial vehicle maker asked its chief executive to leave and said he would not seek to renew his tenure, Reuters reported.

CEO Laszlo Steiner, whose departure was announced late on Thursday, was criticised earlier this week by the municipality of Gyor, Raba’s biggest shareholder with an 11.2% stake, Reuters said.

By 1100 GMT on Friday, Raba shares were down by 1.87% at 1,050 forints, in moderate volume, while the broader market’s BUX index was up 2.28%. The stock cost as much as 1,760 forints in May last year. Traders said mostly domestic players were selling on concerns of a leadership vacuum at the company, according to Reuters.

“Foreigners do not have too many Raba shares and large volumes are not trading,” one trader told the news agency. “The stock may go lower on a sentiment basis.”

According to Reuters, the new CEO will be appointed at Raba’s annual general meeting on April 23. Leaders of the northwest Hungarian town of Gyor said Steiner could have done a better job despite acknowledging the difficult international environment in which the company had to operate in the last two years.

Reuters said Raba, which has cited low demand in the US heavy truck market, posted a loss of 2.48 billion forints ($US10.67 million) in 2002 on sales of 39.4 billion, against a year-earlier profit of 1.8 billion on sales of 57.23 billion.

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