THE PLAN FOR 2014SIF Banat Crişana seeks the non-performing loans of companies that have potential

Adina Ardeleanu (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 17 martie 2014

SIF Banat Crişana seeks the non-performing loans of companies that have potential

Investments in real estate projects, a strategic goal

Two options for the holding focused on hotels

The acquisitions of other SIFs, a priority

The acquisition of non-performing companies, but which have a potential for a turnaround, is the novelty that the management of SIF1 Banat Crişana, in 2014, according to the program presented to the shareholders, prior to the General Shareholder Meeting for the approval of the balance sheet.

The real estate projects, the creation of a hotel industry holding, as well as the investments in other SIFs, are also among the objectives mentioned by SIF Banat Crişana.

The report of SIF1 shows that the company may acquire distressed companies, either directly, or by taking over their non-performing loans - through specialized vehicles in which SIF Banat-Crişana would hold a majority stake or through partnerships.

SIF1 is also considering investment projects in sectors that have a high potential for growth and companies with high potential for development in the medium term, with a high degree of innovation and which would offer a risk/reward ratio as low as possible: "Increased attention is being paid to the opportunities offered in the energy sector, with the projects pursued that concern a diversification of the portfolio across sectors, as well as of the investment instruments / the classes of assets under management".

The management of the SIF says that it is considering two alternatives for the project to create a hotel industry holding, which was announced as early back as last year: "One option would be the creation of an investment vehicle that is similar to SIF Imobiliare, and the second option is that of turning one of the companies in the hotel industry into a holding, in which SIF Banat-Crişana has a controlling interest".

The management wants a buyback program, to lower the discount

The management of SIF Banat-Crişana considers that a buyback program would be beneficial for the SIF's shareholders: "Using such a program, the company could absorb a limited number of shares from the market, thus lowering the number of shares outstanding. The program in question could have a beneficial effect, both by increasing the NAVPS, as well as by lowering the discount that the shares are trading at. For that purpose, the company is prepared for the beginning of a buyback program, either once the actions began by the Board of Directors in 2013 see a positive solution, or once the legislation and the relevant regulations will be adapted to the realities of the day, in order to eliminate the existing discriminations, and it will be possible to hold an extraordinary general shareholder meetings".

In October 2013, the Financial Oversight Authority, (ASF) has told SIF1 Banat Crişana that it may not reduce its share capital, without a decision of the General Shareholder Meeting, after the management of SIF1 had approved the operation, based on a stipulation of its articles of incorporation.

The acquisition of the majority stake of SAI Muntenia and SIF Imobiliare - the major projects of 2013

The acquisition of the majority stake of SAI Muntenia Invest and the creation of SIF Imobiliare Plc. have been the major investment projects completed by SIF Banat Crişana in 2013, according to the report of the Board of Directors.

The holding dedicated to the real estate sector has been created through the incorporation of 18 companies in the portfolio of SIF Banat-Crişana. In December 2013, SIF Imobiliare Plc. was listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and admitted for trading on the ATS market.

The acquisition of the controlling interest in SAI Muntenia Invest is a part of the strategy of SIF Banat-Crişana to develop and expand its portfolio of shares, with its medium term financial goal being to increase the revenue, by increasing the efficiency of the activity and of the manner of administration of the SAI, according to the report of SIF Banat Crişana.

SIF1 is considering lowering its exposure to the financial sector

Last year, the value of the net assets has increased over 21%, to 1,596 million lei.

The management of SIF1 says that the positive evolution of the stock market and the listing of some of the companies in its portfolio were the main factors that caused the 24.52% increase of the value of its portfolio. "The unlisted shares also had a positive evolution, amid the improved financial results posted by a series of companies in the portfolio", the report states.

The management of SIF1 also states that the financial-banking sector still holds the largest weight in the assets under management, of 54% of the NAV: "The value of the stakes has increased by over 20% compared to last year. Given the current context of deterioration of the profitability ratios in the banking system, the company is considering lowering its exposure to this sector".

The management of the company considers that it has adopted the necessary measures to improve the company's sustainability and development, the conditions existing on the financial market, by monitoring cashflows and the adequacy of investment policies.

"The effects of the international financial crisis have also been felt on the Romanian financial market, especially in the form of the increase of the non-performing loans in the Romanian banking system, more difficult access to financing for the population, as well as for companies, the orientation of the banks predominantly towards financing the authorities, by acquiring government bonds, instead of financing economic growth or consumption, the depreciation of the national currency, a decrease in the prices of real estate assets, the negative evolution of the macroeconomic indicators (inflation, budget deficit, current account deficit, the drop of direct foreign investments, the increase in the unemployment rate etc.)", the quoted report says.

Najib El Lakis, the only candidate for the completion of the Board of Directors

The shareholders of SIF1 have on the agenda of the General Shareholder Meeting in April, the completion of the Board of Directors, by electing a new member.

Najib El Lakis, who had been coopted as an interim board member, is the only one who has submitted his application for the position.

Last year, Dragoş Bîlteanu was confirmed by shareholders as the CEO of SIF1 Banat Crişana. The shareholders also elected Ştefan Dumitru, Ion Stancu, Ali Lakis, Valentin Chiser and Adrian Petreanu on the Board of Directors.

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