* Templeton gets new two-year term as Fondul manager
* Awaits approval for London listing, share buyback
(Adds Templeton comment, shareholder, details)
By Luiza Ilie
BUCHAREST, Sept 23 Romania's Fondul Proprietatea
is waiting for regulatory approval to launch a secondary
share listing in London and a new programme to buy back its
shares from the Bucharest Stock Exchange, its manager said on
The 3.4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) fund, created to
compensate Romanians whose assets were seized under communism,
holds minority stakes in a slew of state-owned companies, some
of which are unlisted.
Fondul shareholders - led by their largest, billionaire Paul
Singer's Elliott Associates - have been pushing Templeton since
it took over managing the fund in 2010 to narrow the discount
between its net asset value and its stock price.
On Tuesday, shareholders gave Templeton a new two-year
mandate as manager, but at half the length of its current term,
which expires on Sept. 30. They also attached stringent
performance criteria, related to bringing down the discount.
Templeton has pushed successive governments in the European
Union's second-poorest state to reform outdated, inefficient
It has cut the number of unlisted companies in its portfolio
to 38, while also selling minority stakes in listed utilities
like oil and gas group Petrom, gas and power grid
operators Transgaz and Transelectrica and
gas producer Romgaz.
It has also been buying back its shares, reducing the
discount to 26 percent from 55.7 percent in 2011.
"If the discount goes down significantly, we will be buying
something more than our shares," Fondul manager Grzegorz
Konieczny told reporters.
Templeton is waiting for Romanian financial regulator ASF to
approve its paperwork for a secondary London listing this fall,
and a new programme to buy back roughly 7.3 percent of its
"I believe next year we will see the NAV discount narrowing
below 10 percent," said Jan Martinek, a Fondul shareholder based
in Prague, adding he saw a 45 percent return on investment over
12 months from share price gains and dividends.
"Paul Singer's involvment in Fondul is highly beneficial for
all Fondul shareholders."
Konieczny said the London listing will widen the pool of
investors for both Fondul and other Romanian assets. He said
more gains could come from initial public offerings of state
firms, initially planned for this year but postponed for 2015.
IPOs include state power producers Hidroelectrica and
Oltenia. Minority listings of the port of Constanta in
southeastern Romania and Bucharest airports could follow.
Fondul shares were quoted at 0.9220 lei per share on
Tuesday, down 1.2 percent on the day but not far off a record
high hit earlier this month.
(1 US dollar = 0.7757 euro)
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)