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Libbey Inc. to be removed from NYSE; shares to trade over-the-counter

One of Toledo s oldest continuing businesses will be moving not out of the city, but off the Big Board of the New York Stock Exchange.

Libbey Inc. announced Tuesday that it has received notice from NYSE officials that trading in the glassmaker s stock will be suspended and its stock delisted prior to the market s opening Monday morning.

It will trade through Friday under the ticker symbol LBY, but then will receive a new symbol when it moves to the over-the-counter bulletin board, company officials said.

"While we are disappointed that we will no longer have the visibility of the New York Stock Exchange, we do not believe the delisting is a reflection on the fundamental strength of our business," John F. Meier, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

"There should be no significant impact on day-to-day operations or continued implementation of our growth strategy. We are confident that we have sufficient sources of liquidity to meet our current needs."

The table glass and plates manufacturer submitted a plan in February to remain listed after it received notification from the exchange that its market capitalization had fallen and remained below exchange minimums.

Market capitalization is the firm s share price multiplied by the number of shares it has outstanding. The Toledo firm s market capitalization Tuesday evening was $11 million, or $4 million below NYSE minimums over a 30-day trading period.

Libbey s stock fell 19 percent Tuesday to close at 75 cents a share on volume almost five times normal levels.

The stock traded for almost $16 per share at this time last year, when the company s market capitalization was $236 million.

Jim Barrett, an analyst who follows Libbey with C.L. King & Assoc. in New York, said the delisting action won t affect the fundamentals of the company s business plan, but it makes it much more difficult for the stock to be held by institutional investors.

"As an investor, I don t care a whole lot [about what board the stock is on]," Mr. Barrett said. "The bigger issue here is that the very small stock price make the shares less attractive to the institutional type investor than when its stock price was $15 or $20."

Libbey was founded in Toledo 121 years ago by Edward Drummond Libbey, who moved his small glass company and its workers from Massachusetts to Toledo by train with much fanfare. Its Ash Street factory is the company s oldest facility, along with much newer plants in Shreveport, La., Mexico, and China.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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