CPI-backed Atrium completes Euronext listing

The CEE shopping centre developer, already listed in Vienna, is now trading in Amsterdam, a year after Citi Property Investors and Gazit-Globe invested €500m into the company.

Atrium European Real Estate, the Central and Eastern European shopping centre developer backed by Citi Property Investors and Tel Aviv-listed property company Gazit-Globe, traded up strongly on its first day on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange yesterday.

Shares closed at €3.82 a share, giving the company a market capitalisation of €868 million.

Previously known as Meinl European Land, CPI and Gazit invested €500 million into the Vienna Stock Exchange-listed company in August 2008. 

“A second listing on a major international exchange was set as a key objective when we took over the management just over 12 months ago,” Rachel Lavine, chief executive of Atrium, said in a statement. “There are many benefits to the company and its shareholders from the new listing. As an internationally recognised and traded exchange, it opens Atrium up to a far wider universe of potential investors, which we believe should result in broader analyst coverage, encourage greater liquidity in Atrium’s shares and, therefore, enhance pricing over the longer term.”

The listing marks the latest stage of a turnaround for Atrium which, prior to the investment by CPI and Gazit, was subject to a strategic review after engaging in a share buyback in August 2007 without shareholder approval. That review saw measures such as much of the main board being replaced with executives chosen by CPI and Gazit and a name change, being taken.

The investment by CPI and Gazit was to include a €300 million rights issue as well as the €500 million, which was injected through convertible loan notes, however plans for the rights issues were aborted after an insufficient number of shareholders took up the outstanding shares. This prompted Atrium to restructure the rights issue to ensure CPI and Gazit did not have to take up the shares, which would have meant they had more than 30 percent in the company and that they could have been forced to make a mandatory takeover bid. The restructure saw Atrium raise €72 million of equity through measures including a private placement.

Atrium buys, manages and develops supermarket-anchored shopping centers. It has a portfolio of 152-income producing assets,including the Militari shopping centre in Romania (pictured), spread across eight countries in central and eastern Europe and as well as a number of development schemes.