Cofinimmo, a listed Belgian real estate company, was today officially informed by Euronext of its entry into the BEL 20 index, in 16th position. Cofinimmo therefore ranks as the first property share to have been admitted to one of the three main Euronext indices (AEX, BEL 20 and CAC40).
Cofinimmo is very proud to number amongst the 20 leading Belgian listed companies. This marks the culmination of its efforts to enhance the profile and liquidity of the Cofinimmo share and to distribute its capital more widely. Furthermore, this development also reflects the growing importance of the property investment market in Belgium and its appeal as part of any diversified investment portfolio.
At the beginning of 2002, the velocity (1) of the Cofinimmo shares came to just 8%, the average daily volume to 2,200 shares and the free float (2) to 47.7%. Cofinimmo was then suffering from the reputation of Sicafi (SociÃÂ©tÃÂ© d´investissement ÃÂ capital fixe en immobilier, fixed capital real estate investment trust) of being low-liquidity shares. Since January 2002, a number of steps have been taken to increase the share´s liquidity; these include, in particular, the appointment of Fortis Bank as market maker, allowing Cofinimmo´s standing among investors to be increased and facilitating the trading of shares.
During the course of 2002, as a result of the gradual increase in liquidity, Cofinimmo´s shareholding structure underwent some major changes. The Caisse de PrÃÂ©voyance des MÃÂ©decins/Voorzorgskas van Geneesheren (Medical doctors pension fund) sold its holding of 414,757 shares (5.83%) on the stock market and Rodamco sold over half its shares, thereby moving below the 3% threshold. Following the partial splits/mergers carried out with two companies in the Dexia Group, after which 1,021,734 new shares were issued, the Dexia Group became the largest shareholder in Cofinimmo, with 15.24%.
At the close of 2002, the velocity of the Cofinimmo share exceeded 25% and the average daily volume traded came to 8,500 shares. The free float at 31 December 2002 amounted to 52.68%. Cofinimmo, thus falling within the Euronext free float band of 50-75%, recorded a market capitalisation figure of EUR 815 million and was therefore in position to gain automatic entry to the BEL 20 index in 16th place.
(1) Velocity: The number of shares traded on the stock market on an annual basis divided by the total number of shares.
(2) Free float: The number of shares held by those shareholders owning less than 3% (Euronext definition).
The annual results will be published on Saturday 8 February 2003.