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midastouch017   Monday, 09/12/05 03:45:08 AM
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The White Knight charging to the rescue of the Damsel
in distress?!.
Very good.

Fortissimo to Nur's rescue?
12.9.2005 | 10:29
Oded Hermoni

Nur Macroprinters (Nasdaq:NURM) may have found a savior after all. Fortissimo Capital Funds is pursuing advanced negotiations to invest as much as $10 million in the beleaguered maker of wide-format printers.

The investment would rescue Nur from the verge of bankruptcy. The company had been in difficulties but sank further after Avi Wertheim's investment fund Inspire reneged at the last second from its pledge to invest $10 million in Nur.

Yuval Cohen, who runs Fortissimo, refused to comment for this report.

Dan Purjes, the company's chairman and owner of a 28% stake in Nur, had kept it afloat with a $1 million personal injection of cash. But the company's problem is its heavy debts to Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT), Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI ) and Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI ), amounting to $43 million.

Nur has not published financial statements for a year now, in fact since the third quarter of 2004. But Purjes recently divulged that Nur, which has 350 employees, achieved $25 million in revenues in the last quarter, and maintained profitability.

If Fortissimo does come on board, it would presumably insist on a sweeter deal with creditor banks than Inspire achieved. The banks might have to agree to forgive some debt and reschedule the rest.

Under Inspire's investment program in Nur, the banks were supposed to convert $15 million debt into equity, and reschedule the rest of the debt over seven years.

About two months ago Purjes suggested after an investment, in his case from Fortissimo, Nur might raise capital through a bond issue to return money to the banks.

Cohen founded Fortissimo in 2003 as a turnaround and buyout fund, with some $70 million under management. One of its biggest investors is Migdal Insurance (TASE: MGDL ). So far Fortissimo has made exactly one investment, on June 23, 2005 buying the 39% controlling interest in Telrad Networks from Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR). It paid $16.75 million for the pleasure. The international private equity fund HarbourVest International Private Equity Partners and Poalim Ventures joined Fortissimo in the investment.



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