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Punch: Dufour Unit Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Press release from the issuing company

Sint-Martens-Latem, 10 September 2002 -- Punch International NV, EMS provider with registered seat at Sint-Martens-Latem, announces that – together with the management of its subsidiary Punch Dufour, based in Roubaix, France – it decided to file a request for bankruptcy protection. As a consequence, 66 jobs are at risk in the Dufour production unit. In March 2000, Punch International took over the activities of Dufour in a 50-50 joint venture with the management of the establishment. Punch Dufour consisted of two departments: Punch Dufour Automation S.A. and Punch Dufour Installation. Activities at the Dufour facility were focused on automating existing industrial applications and industrializing complete production processes. The request for bankruptcy protection is the result of a long search for survival possibilities for the loss-making production unit: due to the continuing malaise in the French technology sector, the Dufour facility could no longer stay profitable. The potential closure of Punch Dufour would only have a limited impact on the turnover expectations of Punch International, as this production unit accounts for less than 3% of the consolidated group turnover. Punch International estimates that the possible non-returning loss related to this shareholding will amount to approximately _ 800.000,00. Guido Dumarey, CEO of Punch International: "In spite of the potential that the activities at Punch Dufour have, the management’s efforts and the results for the previous year have been very disappointing. If the court decides to grant bankruptcy policy, the management of Punch Dufour will need a drastic recovery plan and a capital increase to be able to avoid the company’s bankruptcy." About Punch International Founded in 1982, Punch International produces and assembles components, subsystems and finished products for "Original Equipment Manufacturers", for the consumer and the professional electronics industry. In 2001, Punch achieved a turnover of nearly EUR 110 million and a 101.8% increase in the net profit to EUR 8.5 million. The group operates 13 production units employing more than 2300 personnel in 8 countries. Punch International has been listed on the First Market of the Brussels Stock Exchange, now Euronext, since 1999 and is included in the NextPrime segment.