Two investment funds administered by Sanne Group, a British alternative asset manager that administers assets worth some GBP 200 billion (EUR 223 bln), have become the biggest shareholders of Fondul Proprietatea, the biggest investment fund in Romania.
The two investment funds registered in Ireland, AIO V and AIO VI reported that they own 6.69% of Fondul Proprietatea's voting rights. The two funds have bought over 9.1 million global depository receipts (GDRs) traded on the London Stock Exchange, which are the equivalent of 490 million Fondul Proprietatea shares. The stake is worth some EUR 96 million.
The two funds thus replace U.S. hedge fund Elliott, managed by activist investor Paul Singer, as Fondul Proprietatea’s biggest shareholders. Elliott bought its first shares in Fondul Proprietatea before it was even listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, in January 2011. The fund continued to buy massively after listing and reached a 20% stake in the fund, which gave it the possibility to influence the fund’s management strategy, coordinated by U.S. group Franklin Templeton. The fund’s manager thus started to sell assets from its portfolio and distribute the cash to shareholders via dividends, capital distributions and share buyback programs.
Elliott got massive profits from its investment in Fondul Proprietatea and started to reduce its stake in early 2017. In August 2018, the hedge fund only controlled 3% of Fondul Proprietatea’s voting rights.