Fondul Proprietatea, a Romanian closed-end fund managed by Franklin Templeton Investments, has now been admitted to trading on the Specialist Fund Market of the London Stock Exchange (“LSE”).
The fund consists of a portfolio of Romanian equity securities with assets of over €2.9 billion as of 31st of March 2015 and has been listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange since January 2011. It has originally been set up in 2005 to compensate Romanians whose properties were seized during the communist regime. Following an international tender process, Franklin Templeton Investment Management Limited was appointed in September 2010 as Fund Manager and Sole Director of the Fund.
Greg Konieczny (pictured), CEO and fund manager of Fondul Proprietatea added: Our focus as Fund Manager continues to be to maximise returns for the Fund’s shareholders, increase the NAV per share, and decrease the discount at which the Fund’s shares currently trade. In addition to regular buy-back programmes, cash distributions, and a proactive investor relations programme, we view today’s listing on the LSE as an integral part of our discount reduction mechanism.”
The funds annual distribution to shareholders amounted to 1,778.5 million Romanian New Leu €403.999. About 53% of its shareholders currently consist of foreign insitutionals and 21% of Romanian individuals.
Commenting on the listing, Mark Mobius, executive chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group said: The Fund has the potential to become one of the most visible and attractive closed-end funds listed in London, given its size, portfolio and discount to NAV. Moreover, we are convinced that the secondary listing of the Fund on the LSE will increase the visibility of the Romanian capital market on the international scene, will facilitate access of a broader base of foreign investors to the country, and will act as a catalyst towards unveiling Romania’s many other investment opportunities.
The Romanian government is set to launch a working group including economic experts and business stakeholders with the plan to review possible listing of 1200 companies which are currently state-owned on Bucharest stock exchange, Dragos Andrei counsellor to the prime minister’s Office of Romania to the UK confirmed.