NEPI joins the BSE, falls 1.95%

ŞTEFANIA CIOCÎRLAN (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 21 iunie 2011

Martin Slabbert: "We don"t intend to raise money from the stock market for now"

Starting June 21st, shares of Real Estate Investment Fund "New Europe Property Investments" (NEPI) can be traded on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. This is the first time that an issuer of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) type is listed on the Romanian Exchange. Even though the issuer has significant exposure on the Romanian market, the Bucharest Stock Exchange was the third option for NEPI, as the fund has been traded on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange since August 2007 and on the Johannesburg Exchange since April 2009. NEPI transferred to the main tier of the South-African Exchange in July 2010.

Martin Slabbert, the managing director of NEPI, announced that, for now, the REIT does not intend to raise money from the Bucharest Stock Exchange. Besides, the management of NEPI recently announced that it has placed 9.56 million common shares (new shares) at a price of 3 Euros/share, pursuant to a placing for cash, raising gross proceeds of approximately 29 million Euros.

After the admission to trading of the new shares, the share capital of NEPI will consist of 88.49 million common shares. Shares are expected to be admitted to trading with effect from June 22nd, 2011.

"We listed the company on the BSE to allow Romanian investors to invest in our stock", Martin Slabbert, the director of NEPI. He holds about 6% of the company.

Valentin Ionescu, the managing director of the Bucharest Stock Exchange, yesterday hinted that he would like the intermediaries of the listing, more specifically BCR and Intercapital Invest, to activate as market-makers for the shares of NEPI, together with the expansion of the nominee accounts mechanism to all the stocks listed on the regulated market of the BSE, after it was implemented for the Proprietatea Fund in July.

Martin Slabbert said, however, that the shares of NEPI are liquid enough, as they are also traded in London and Johannesburg. On the first day on the BSE, 170 shares of NEPI were exchanged in three trades, with a turnover of 2,567 lei. The price fell 1.95%, to 15.1 lei/share.

Shares of NEPI haven"t been traded on the London Stock Exchange since the end of last year, but they are traded a bit more frequently on the Johannesburg exchange.

For instance, on Friday, 300 NEPI shares were traded, whereas on Thursday 8,798 shares were traded.

New Europe Property Investments PLC was incorporated on July 23rd, 2007, in Isle of Man, according to the Law concerning corporations of the Isle of Man of the year 2006, according to information provided by the officials of NEPI. Around 47% of the investment fund is owned by the Resilient Group (which includes real estate investment companies listed on Johannesburg Exchange), the management and the directors of the fund.

The fund pays out dividends two times a year. The value of the dividend paid out in 2010 was 17.61 Euros/share, up from 15.7 Euros/share in 2009 and from 14.72 Euros/share in 2008. According to information provided yesterday by the company"s representatives, the dividend tax is not withheld at the source.

The fund has a leverage rate of 49%, the highest since 2008.

In the listing prospectus of the Fund, mentions the interest rate risk related to the company"s loans, following the change of the interest payments. However, this risk is mitigated through hedging activities, involving the use of derivatives.

In mid-May, businessman Dan Viorel Şucu, the owner of "Mobexpert", decided to sell 99.6% of the Limited Liability Company MPM Land Management SRL to NEPI Bucharest Tree SRL, an investment vehicle of NEPI.

At the same time, Domusmex Limited, a Cypriot company headquartered in Nicosia, decided to sell its 0.34% holding of MPM Land Management to NE Property Cooperatief, a Dutch cooperative, headquartered in Amsterdam, represented by Victor Semionov. Mr. is also the representative of NEPI Bucharest Three SRL and the financial director of NEPI, as well as a co-founder of the investment fund.

Martin Slabbert yesterday explained that this deal basically amounted to the acquisition of a plot of land.

New Europe Property Investments owns 27 properties in Romania and 6 properties in Germany of which it owns 50%. The retail portfolio of NEPI includes 11 assets with a total usable surface of 101,000 square meters, valued at 148 million Euros and representing 50% of the annual gross rental income on December 31st, 2010, according to information provided by the management of the company. The office portfolio includes 20 properties with a total surface of 84,500 square meters, valued at 144.8 million Euros, representing 44% of the gross annual rental income on December 31st, 2010. The industrial portfolio consists of an industrial property of 23.00 square meters in Râşnov, and a logistics property of 4,800 square meters in Bucharest. On December 31st 2010, the two properties were appraised at 17.3 million Euros and accounted for 6% of the gross annual rental income.

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