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Fotex to sweep up Domus shares

Fotex, a former retailer now transformed into a real estate holding company, raised its stake in its furniture unit Domus from 56% to 97.5% with two big purchases on the Budapest Stock Exchange (BÉT) on Wednesday, paying a big premium following a failed buyout offer in December, business daily Napi Gazdaság reported on Wednesday. Fotex paid Ft 2,235 per share for a 408,133-share packet - exactly the number of shares purchased by Germany's Discover Europe Investments at the end of the 90s - as well as for a 50,000-share packet. The price is 40% more than that offered by Fotex in a buyout offer in December. In that offer, investors parted with only 22,914 of their shares, perhaps speculating that a big foreign retailer was eyeing Domus' shops. Still, Fotex managed to save Ft 56m compared to the price paid on Wednesday. Domus has net assets per share of Ft 2,050, Napi Gazdaság calculated using figures from the end of 2005. But the market value of the company's properties, in prime locations in many Hungarian cities, could well exceed their book value of Ft 1.76 billion. Last year alone, Domus recorded revenue of Ft 222 million on the sale of properties with a book value of tens of millions of forints, Napi Gazdaság noted.