Penta plans to delist Czech-based betting firm Fortuna

By bne IntelliNews March 31, 2017

Slovak financial group Penta announced on March 31 that it plans to tender for the remaining shares in Czech-based betting firm Fortuna, and then delist the company.

Penta, which holds 68.25% in Fortuna via Cypriot holding Forbet, said it hopes to push “intensive development” of the company, “particularly in the markets of Central and Southeastern Europe”. These “ambitious plans” will affect Fortuna’s ability to pay dividends, and full private ownership will “mean faster development without complications”, Penta claims.

Fortuna recently bought betting firm assets in Romania, Croatia and Spain in what was a major transaction. The deal was equivalent to around half of its capitalisation.

The move to increase ownership to 100% of the shares is being made in support of Fortuna’s strategy to become a leading multi-product and multi-channel operator in these markets. Fortuna “operates in sectors in which Penta has decided to be a long-term strategic investor, without a planned exit date”, the statement continues.

That may be a hint that Fortuna is not included in a deal that will reportedly see Penta sell the majority of its assets to China’s CEFC. The “energy and banking conglomerate,” which bought a bevvy of assets in the Czech Republic and around the region in 2015, is well advanced in a buyout of the closely-held Slovak group, although progress seems to have stalled for the meantime, according to sources.

After obtaining necessary approvals, Penta will launch a tender for outstanding shares on April 21. The offer will stand until June 20. Penta will then move to delist Fortuna from the Prague and Warsaw Stock Exchanges.

Fortbet wants to buy 410,197 shares, or 0.79% of Fortuna’s capital in Poland, and 16.5m Czech shares - the current 31.8% free float - at a proposed price of PLN15.43 per share or around CZK100.

That has analysts at KBC dubious. The price is “some 8-9% discount to the current share price,” they note. “As a consequence, the bid is not likely to be successful.”
 

 

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