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Greece's Marfin IG to raise €5.19 bln for investments

Marfin Investment Group announced details of its proposed rights issue to raise up to €5.19 billion ($7 billion), which will be used for investments in South East Europe and other emerging and fast expanding markets.

MIG said it will offer 14 new shares for every one held at €6.7 ($9) per share, and Marfin Popular Bank, MIG's largest shareholder, which currently owns about 97%, has confirmed its intention not to exercise its rights under the offering. The global offering will be conducted by Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch acting as joint global coordinators, and with City, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch acting as joint book runners. The syndicate will be joined by Dubai Financial, Investment Bank of Greece and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, acting as co-lead managers. The new shares will be listed on the Athens Stock Exchange with trading expected to commence by mid-July 2007.

MIG CEO D. Malamatinas told journalists during a briefing that the proceeds of the offering will be used by MIG to develop a portfolio of investments throughout the south eastern European region, especially in Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and other selected countries such as Estonia, Russia and the Ukraine. Areas where MIG is likely to invest is in technology, health care, leisure, hospitality, real estate, and energy. He clarified that the banking sector is not one of the top priorities of the Group for investment. Malamatinas said he expects to deploy about 80% of the capital in the first six months, which will include at least three major transactions worth €1 billion each, a further 10 smaller size deals of €500 million ($675 million) each and another 20 deals of €50 million each.

MIG is targeting a 25% rate of return after fees and expenses as well as healthy dividends, primarily by making private equity-type investments, as well as investments in privatizations and infrastructure projects. Management expects MIG’s gearing to climb to 2 times equity, meaning that its funds under management may increase to €10 billion ($13.5 billion). Any new shares not subscribed to by Marfin Popular Bank and other shareholders in the rights offering will be the subject of a private placement to investors in Greece and to institutional investors and certain intermediaries internationally. The global offering is not underwritten and new shares which are not subscribed for in the placement will be cancelled. (financialmirror.com)