* Manager Franklin Templeton aims to raise Fondul visibility
* Fondul shareholders to approve London proposal on April 28
(Adds manager comment, share price)
BUCHAREST, March 7 Franklin Templeton, the
manager of Romania's investment fund Fondul Proprietatea
, will ask shareholders to approve a secondary Fondul
listing on the London Stock Exchange as early as the summer,
manager Grzegorz Konieczny said on Friday.
Templeton, which has repeatedly warned investors that access
to the Bucharest Stock Exchange was hampered by complicated
regulations, hopes the dual listing will increase Fondul's and
Romania's visibility, tap a broader pool of capital and possibly
lift its valuation through increased demand for the shares.
If everything goes smoothly, the listing could be executed
by the summer, Konieczny told a news conference.
The $4.6 billion Fondul fund, created to compensate
Romanians whose assets were seized when the country was under
communist rule, holds minority stakes in a slew of state-owned
companies. It has pushed successive governments in the European
Union's second-poorest state to reform outdated inefficient
Templeton will recommend the listing to Fondul's
shareholders at a meeting on April 28, having scrapped an
earlier proposal to list on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
However, the listing's outcome could be marred by an
unfavorable court ruling last month against state-owned power
producer Hidroelectrica, the country's largest electricity
generator, in which Fondul holds a 20 percent stake, valued at
roughly 500 million euros ($692 million).
The court ruling makes it impossible for Hidroelectrica to
launch an initial public offering (IPO) this year, required
under Romania's aid deal led by the International Monetary
"It is impossible to expect the IPO this year. For us,
Romania is a market that is always full of surprises and we have
to accommodate it," Konieczny said, adding that he expects the
impact on Fondul's London listing to be neutral.
Templeton will also ask Fondul shareholders to approve a
fourth buyback programme of 10 percent of its issued share
capital at a cost of at least 198.2 million lei ($61 million).
The Fondul buybacks aim to narrow the discount between its
net asset value and its stock price, which stood at roughly 34
percent in January.
Fondul shares were down 0.7 percent at 0.81 lei by 1234 GMT,
with other central European assets also falling on investors
concern over conflict and debt default in Ukraine.
($1 = 0.7225 euros)
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by David Goodman)