ADINA ARDELEANU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 15 aprilie 2015

SIF Moldova has had enough of the Sibex losses

SIF2 and "Delta Solar Investments" have asked for the distribution of the proceeds from the liquidation of the Romanian Clearing House

SIF Moldova and "Delta Solar Investments", with a combined holding of 9.03% of Sibex, want the Sibiu exchange to return to shareholders the money it got from the liquidation of the Romanian Clearing House (CRC), as well as the reduction of the Capital of Sibex, as they are unhappy with the losses it posted over the last few years.

Thus, the two shareholders have asked for new additions to the agenda of the General Shareholder Meeting of April 28th/29th, which is also when the elections for the Board of Directors are scheduled.

In response, the representatives of Sibex are saying that the strategic goals defined by the General Shareholder Meeting on April 28th/29th 2014, have been 100% fulfilled from a quantitative and qualitative point of view, and the revenue and expense budget has been completely fulfilled.

One of the proposals of SIF Moldova, which are identical to those of "Delta Solar Investments", is to demand the Board of Directors preset an additional report discussing the reasons for the losses reported in 2014, as well as of the losses forecasted in the revenue and expense budget for 2015.

The report will include a cohesive strategy concerning stopping the forecasted losses, appropriately presented in the Revenue and Expense Budget for 2015 and in the development policy for the 2015-2018 period, according to the request sent by the shareholders.

SIF Moldova says: "Between 2011-2014, the shareholders' equity/worth decreased 30%, and in 2014 alone the loss was 12% - 2.98 million lei, amid the total drop in revenues of 30% (the reported loss is 11 million lei).

The budget proposal presented to the shareholders - losses of 2 million lei for 2015 and 0.8 million lei for 2016 confirms the continuation of the downward trend of the company's profitability and implicitly of the wealth of the shareholders, who can no longer accept that".

The two shareholders want an approach that would either lead to profitability, or stop the forecasted losses by shutting down Sibex.

"In the absence of a cohesive strategy for eliminating losses, which are reflected in the revenue and expense budget for 2015, we reserve the right not to approve the presented financial statements and not to grant the discharge to the managers for their activity", the shareholders' request also states.

The Sibex Board to decide today if it will honor the shareholders' request

"All requests coming from one or more shareholders is treated with the most attention and care by the management of Sibex - the Sibiu Stock Exchange", the Sibex representatives told us. "Also, the positioning and the analysis of this request in the context of the mandate that was granted and of the Decisions of the Ordinary General Shareholder Meeting for the April 2014 - April 2015 period are just as important as the request itself. Thus, an important aspect that should be mentioned is that strategic objectives defined by the Ordinary General Shareholder Meeting on April 28/29, 2014 have been 100% fulfilled from a qualitative and quantitative point of view (such as the partnership with ATHEX Group, the migration to the OASIS trading platform and the X-NET system, the alignment of the working procedures with the regulations of the EU - ESMA etc). Furthermore, the revenue and expense budget has been met in full - with the express mention that the expenses and implicitly the losses were far lower than the ones that were predicted and set as objectives by the SIBEX shareholders.

In this context, the management of SIBEX has acknowledged and transparently published on its website, in compliance with the regulations of the ASF and with the bylaws/regulations and the working procedures of the company, each of the individual requests formulated by each shareholder/representative that wanted to exercise this legitimate right to make additions to the agenda of the Sibex ordinary general shareholder meeting of April 28th/29th, 2015.

In full compliance with every legal procedure and legislation in effect, tomorrow, April 15th, 2015 (ed. note: today) the Board of Directors of SIBEX - SIBIU STOCK EXCHANGE SA will review each of these requests, and based on the decision of the Board of Directors it will be decided whether to amend the agenda to the extent that the submitted proposals comply with the applicable legislation".

Shareholders want the closing down of the Sibex Depository

SIF Moldova also wants the shareholders of Sibex to mandate the Board of Directors of Sibex to summon the General Shareholder Meeting of the Depository, in order to shut it down, to reduce the share capital by reducing the face value of the stock from 100 lei to 1 leu and the return of the money to the shareholders.

SIF Moldova and "Delta Solar Investments" argue: "In 2014, the Sibex Depository has posted a loss of 298,852 lei, up over 2012 and 2013 (78,000 lei /2012 and 173,000 in 2013). We feel that continuing its operation is not justified, in the context of a forecasted loss of 679,000 lei in the revenue and expense budget for 2015, considering that the institution only manages a small number of issuers.

The perpetuation of a state of fact over a few years and continuing to operate under these circumstances would lead to an increase in the shareholders' losses caused to shareholders and last but not least the locking of significant financial resources, which can be returned to them instead".

SIF Moldova has also proposed the reduction of the share capital of Sibex by reducing the face value of its shares from 1 leu to 0.88 lei. As a result, the share capital will be reduced from 33.42 million lei to 29.41 million lei. Should the shareholders accept the proposal, the money will be returned to them.

"Given the fact that the shareholders have approved the reduction of the share capital of the Romanian Clearing House and the capital used by Sibex isn't offering any returns to shareholders, we are requesting the return of that capital to the shareholders", SIF2 states.

The Romanian Clearing House (CRC), the institution which has managed the risk of the participants on the Sibex Derivatives market between 1998 and 2014, ended 2014, its last year of life, with a loss of 765,806 lei, according to data presented by the company. The shareholders will get back 90% of the share capital (according to the General Shareholder Meeting of February), after the license of the company was withdrawn by the Financial Oversight Authority. At the end of last year, CRC had funds of approximately 2.5 million Euros.

In a statement made in the beginning of March, former Sibex CEO Teodor Ancuţa was saying that some shareholders are considering a legal way of shutting down the Sibiu Exchange, because its losses are too high (2 million Euros, between 2011-2014).

He has complained of the drastic drop in the trading volume on Sibex.

In the first nine months of 2015 the number of contracts traded on Sibex was 4,960, down 95% YOY.

Last year, Sibex signed a partnership with the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX Exchange Group - Athex), through which it switched to the Greek Oasis trading system and to the new clearing and settlement system provided by AthexClear.

Some brokerages are wary of trading in Sibiu, precisely because of the partnership with the Greeks, amid the issues of the Greek banking system, and of the fact that the settlement bank is Alpha Bank, which has extremely low rating.

Other voices feel that the talks about the liquidation of Sibex are inopportune, and say that this approach is absurd, after the effort that has gone into connecting to the Greek platform.

Sibex has also received a different request for an addition to the agenda of the General Shareholder Meeting from Bogdan Baloşan, who has requested the application of the cumulative voting method for the elections for the management of Sibex. The Sibiu Exchange has also announced the resignation of Gabriel Lupaşcu, who was representing SIF Moldova, from the Sibex Board of Directors.

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