Gecina to exit Spanish market, focus on France

Wed Mar 3, 2010 1:52pm IST

Stocks

   

* Aims to have only a few Spanish assets at end-2010 -CEO

* Will continue to sell assets in 2010

* Cashflow seen lower in 2010

* Shares up 0.7 percent

By Lionel Laurent

PARIS, Reuters (March 3) - French property company Gecina (GFCP.PA) will exit the tough Spanish market and continue to sell assets in France as it tries to boost cashflow and pay down debt, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Gecina, which bought 49 percent of Spain's Bami last year at the low point of the property slump, aims to have "only a few" directly held assets in Spain by the end of this year, CEO Christophe Clamageran said.

"We want to concentrate on France," he said on a conference call as the company reported a slightly narrower annual net loss of 773.7 million euros ($1 billion) for 2009. The group said it had sold over 750 million euros of assets in the year.

Gecina's cashflow is set to fall in 2010, Clamageran added.

The primarily office-focused company has spent the past year revamping its management team against a backdrop of perceived corporate governance concerns and boardroom struggles between its key Spanish shareholders. [nLDE61M249]

Gecina recently announced the departure of its chairman, Joaquin Rivero, who owns 16 percent of the company and under whose stewardship the Bami investment -- which some deemed expensive -- was sealed.

Gecina has a market value of 6.6 billion euros and its rivals include Icade (ICAD.PA) and Fonciere des Regions (FDR.PA). Its shares were 0.7 percent higher at 77.84 euros by 0805 GMT.

(Editing by David Holmes)

($1=.7395 Euro)

((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 56 85; Reuters messaging: lionel.laurent.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GECINA/

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