In a release today, Montreal-based Optimum Group Inc. says it has bought 83,900 class A subordinate shares in Optimum General (TSX: OGI.A), through subsidiaries Optimum Re and Optimum Vie. Since November 30, Optimum Re has purchased 66,200 and Optimum Vie, 17,700, of the shares at the current market price, in the range of $2.50-$2.75. This increases Optimum Group’s holding of class A shares in Optimum General from 56.4% to 58.8%. However, when combined with the company’s holding of class B shares, its overall stake remains relatively steady at 94.3%. The company says its intention is not to increase its stake in Optimum General, but that the shares were bought to add to the portfolios of the two subsidiaries. However, it will proceed with a previously announced private purchase of 925,000 class A subordinate voting shares. Optimum General has fallen on hard times lately, with heavy losses in 2002, and has undertaken a restructuring move, withdrawing from troubled markets and cutting staff. Optimum General shares today stand at $2.75.