Ascencio to be introduced onto the stock market on 28 February 2007 (BE)

Ascencio, a Belgian sicafi (real estate investment company) active in commercial real estate, will in principle be introduced onto the stock market on 28 February 2007. To this end, existing shares will placed on sale by the current shareholders from 7 February 2007 onwards. Ascencio's specificity lies in the fact that its portfolio consists largely of 'retail' properties.

The new sicafi is the outcome of a joint initiative by the project's initiators in the Mestdagh group, that is Carl, Eric and John Mestdagh, together with Fortis Real Estate Asset Management, the real estate subsidiary of Fortis Insurance Belgium.

The Mestdagh group, which has been in food distribution for over 100 years, has in parallel developed a pool of real estate properties, mainly in the retail sector. The Mestdagh group wishes to take advantage of the experience it has acquired in the real estate sector over the past 8 to 10 years by setting up a new sicafi. Other property owners have decided to join the project and have also contributed their assets to the sicafis.

Fortis Real Estate Asset Management (FREAM) has many years' experience in real estate. A 100% subsidiary of Fortis Insurance Belgium, Fortis Real Estate has over 120 employees in its Asset Management department, managing a portfolio of more than €3 billion invested in offices and shop properties in Belgium. FREAM, a subsidiary of the Fortis group, has decided to join the Mestdagh group and to act as co-promoter of the sicafi alongside Carl, Eric and John Mestdagh. As a sign of the spirit of partnership between the co-promoters, the groups to which they belong have brought together in all a portfolio of retail properties worth around €100 million.

The introduction of the sicafis onto the stock market will also enable the initial partners and interested investors to participate alongside the co-promoters in the profitability and development of an already well-established portfolio.

Now that Ascencio SCA is a recognized SICAFI, the public issue of its shares and their trading on a stock exchange are obligatory: the contributors have committed to offering 30% of all the shares of the company for sale in the offering.

The number of shares offered for sale is 894,191, or 30% of the shares. The offering for public subscription is open from 7 to 21 February 2007. The shares for sale will we priced within a bracket from €47 to €51, to which is added a placing commission of 2%. The final price will be published in the press on February 7, 2007.

The offering can be closed prior to the end of the subscription period from February 9, 2007 at 16.00 onwards. Any early closing will be published by an announcement in the press (L'Echo and De Tijd).

40% of the shares offered for sale will be reserved for the 'Friends & Family' tranche, 35% for the private investors tranche, with the remaining 25% to be placed with qualified investors in a private placement.

The net expected return from 2008 onwards can be estimated at between 4.80% and 5.21% (after 15% investment withholding tax). The return for the first year should lie between 4.06% and 4.40%, given that the entire cost of setting up the sicafi needs to be borne by Ascencio during the first financial year.

The sicafi will invest principally in the 'retail' sector. Depending on opportunities, it may also enter other sectors like semi-industrial and, in accessory fashion, office properties.

The co-promoters have granted the sicafi a right of first refusal on real estate assets, leased or completed, proposed to them in the "retail" area, with a value of under €20 million. This right, together with the low initial debt level will enable Ascencio to attain rapidly its strategic objective: a policy of growth.

Source: Ascencio

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