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Warimpex plans to raise up to €130 mln in IPO

Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs AG, a hotel property investor in central and eastern Europe, plans to raise as much as €130 mln ($168 mln) in an initial public offering to help fund expansion into eastern Europe and former Soviet nations.

Warimpex and its current shareholders are selling as many as 10 million shares for between €8.50 and €13, the Vienna-based company said today in a statement. The offer comprises 6 million new shares and 4 million existing shares, including an over-allotment option of 1 million shares. Warimpex owns or partly owns 11 luxury and business hotels in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The company plans to move into countries such as Slovakia, Romania, Russia and the Ukraine, where business travel is expected to grow in the years ahead.

Warimpex had sales of €50 million in the first nine months in 2006 and net income of €12.7 million. „Warimpex aims to become one of the leading hotel property groups in central and eastern Europe,” the company said. Warimpex's goal is to „supplement its existing hotel brands by establishing a new chain of economy hotels in cooperation with an international partner.” Warimpex is in negotiations to form a low-fare hotel venture and may announce the outcome „in a few weeks,” CEO Franz Jurkowitsch said today at a briefing.

Warimpex's shares will be listed in Vienna and Warsaw. Investors can order shares from today until January 23. Trading in Vienna is due to start January 26. The company plans to pay out as much as 30% of its profit as dividends in the coming years, according the IPO prospectus. CA IB and Bank Austria Creditanstalt are managing the transaction, helped by Raiffeisen Centrobank. (Bloomberg)