E.W. Blanch Holdings Vice Chair Resigns; Co. Announces $9.5 Million Charge

E.W. Blanch Vice Chairman Kaj Ahlmann has said he will resign at the end of the first quarter of 2001 in order to pursue other interests. Until then, Ahlmann will continue as a director, and will focus on the development of a special project called Markitas.

This comes on the wings of an announcement that the company took a restructuring charge of approximately $9.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2000 related to its expense realignment program. The major components of the restructuring charge include contract terminations and employee severance payments.

Under the program, management identified and divested non-performing or non-core assets and significantly lowered operating costs and corporate overhead. In addition, the company said that it continues to be on track to deliver the $17 million reduction in total expenses it targeted to achieve in 2001, with most targeted to occur in the last three quarters of 2001.

Blanch has not completed the anticipated sale of a non-core asset, which had been expected to close in the fourth quarter and result in a $7.8 million pre-tax capital gain. The Company said that there can be no assurance that a sale of the non-core asset will be consummated.

As a result, the company currently anticipates a loss in the range of $0.24 to $0.34 per diluted share for fiscal year 2000, excluding the restructuring charge and the cumulative effect of Staff Accounting Bulletin 101, if any.