Resignations at Sonova after suspect trades

Hearing aid maker Sonova has announced its chairman, chief executive and chief financial officer have stepped down after selling shares days before a profit warning.

This content was published on March 30, 2011 - 09:01
swissinfo.ch

Sonova said that in the run-up to the profit warning issued on March 16, it had failed to issue a timely internal blackout period for trading in its shares and options.

“As a result of this failure, there were trades that should not have taken place during that period. In addition, Sonova issued its profit warning too late,” a company statement issued on Wednesday read.

These findings were the result of an investigation carried out by a law firm at Sonova’s request. The trades in question were worth SFr47 million ($50 million).

Chief executive Valentino Chapero and finance director Oliver Walker have both tendered their resignations while chairman Andy Rihs, who also sold shares in the period, said he would also step down, although he will remain a director.

                    

Sonova shares hit a 2011 high of SFr128 on March 7, a day before Rihs sold 300,000 shares, but had fallen back to SFr115.40 on March 15. They have since lost further ground and closed at SFr93.30 on Tuesday.

Rihs has offered to buy the shares back from the purchaser at the original purchase price, even though he says the internal investigation found he had sold the shares in good faith. 

The SIS Swiss Exchange has opened a preliminary investigation in relation to the March 16 profit warning.

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