First Property Group plc (Fprop) has announced that following three acquisitions in Poland, Romania and the UK it has increased assets under management by 68% from €132 million (£90 million) in November 2006 to €222 million (£151 million).
The company has acquired on behalf of the funds it manages three office blocks in Poland, Romania and the UK, with an aggregate value of some €90 million (£61 million). The properties are all well located for their use class and should earn a high running rate of return, having been acquired on yields of between 6.8% and 7.7%, as well as offering potential for capital gain. The properties are respectively let to Prokom Software SA, one of Poland's leading listed companies, Millennium Bank S.A. and Cadbury Schweppes plc.
The company is concentrating its activities on Central and Eastern Europe. The acquisition of the property in the UK, let to Cadbury Schweppes plc, was therefore an exception for the company, the purchase of which was concluded because it offers exceptional active management potential.
The company also announced that it has succeeded in its application to the Financial Services Authority for registration.
The Part IV FSA registration allows Fprop to raise, and subsequently manage, funds directly from the public, rather than solely from institutional and professional investors. Fprop will now be able to access funds from a broad range of investors and structure a wide variety of investment vehicles, including publicly quoted investment companies, unit trusts as well as regulated and unregulated investment schemes.
Commenting, Ben Habib, chief executive of First Property Group, said, "Fprop's asset management activities have grown considerably over the past couple of years and continue to perform well. At our interim results we had over £90 million under management, which was 275% over the previous year's figure. With the acquisition of these three properties, we now have over £150 million under management, a further increase of over 68% in less than six months. We are also in the latter stages of negotiating a number of other opportunities, which will again increase the company's assets under management, and expect to be able to make an announcement as such in the near future.
"On account of the high values of properties in the UK, we made the decision in June 2005 to concentrate our efforts in Central and Eastern Europe. As a result of this and our emphasis on expanding our asset management activities, the Group undertook a major transformation of its business. That transformation is now complete, with the majority of the Group's profits derived from asset management and over 85% of our holdings in this region.
"The next logical step in Fprop's evolution was therefore to apply for the FSA registration, allowing us to raise funds for and operate all types of investment vehicles. Receiving this approval is therefore a great step forward for the business which will allow us to deliver further value to our shareholders going forward.
"We look forward to announcing the Group`s results on 6 June 2007."