Game on! That, at least, is the word from Bloomberg, which reports that Orco Property Group founder JF Ott is buying shares in the company. (Not a secret, by the way, since it’s also confirmed on Orco’s website here) The reason, it’s speculated, is that he’s fighting with the Czech business mogul Radovan Vitek for control of the company.
Orco has gained 76 percent in the past three months after a bond-for-equity swap cut indebtedness and sent the stock price to a record low on Sept. 12, attracting new investors. Vitek, owner of Czech Property Investments AS, who bought a 30 percent stake, has proposed to become board member and cut the company’s share capital by 51 percent without cancellation of shares at a Feb. 4 shareholder meeting. Ott bought 8.4 percent last week, raising his stake to 8.9 percent, Orco said yesterday.
“We see CEO Ott’s increased stake as part of a fight for control over Orco,” analyst Josef Novotny at Erste Group Bank AG’s Prague-based unit wrote in a report to clients today.
PPF has filed an injunction against potential changes to the board of directors at the failed developer ECM. A Prague court was due to decide whether to accept a proposal under which top board members in ECM would be replaced by three people from the Prague developer Crestyl. There’s a great deal at stake, with interests as diverse as the creditors of EMC themselves, so that someone has filed an official complaint should come as little surprise.
A very interesting story in yesterday’s Hospodarske noviny, which details some of the gory details in the collapse of Czech developer ECM. Its primary claim is the slide into bankruptcy began when the relationship between PPF and ECM deteriorated. Peter Kellner’s PPF had taken a 75% stake in their joint company called PPF ECM Holding, with ECM founder Milan Janku holding the remainder.
Janku’s own company ECM Real Estate Investments “never belonged to the joint company, but its method of financing was unacceptable for Kellner,” writes HN. It specifies a pair of bonds issued by ECM REI in 2006 an 2007 that brought in €54.8m but which had resulted in liabilities of €125.7m. PPF eventually refused to take part in the restructuring of these liabilities, and HN says the joint company eventually broke up over the issue. Continue reading
Prague’s 11th district is in the process of approving plans by the financial group PPF to build the highest office tower in the country, right next to Centrum Chodov. The plan is to build a pair of 30-storey buildings, one of which will rise to a height of 138 meters. At the moment, AZ Tower in Brno is being built and will be the highest Czech building (111 meters). The project’s a surprise to most people, and there were quite predictably some angry local residents on hand at a recent public meeting to denounce it.
Milan Janku of the failed developer ECM has said he wants to sell 8 projects and complete five others. Those are worthy goals for most developers, but a bit difficult to pull off for companies that declare themselves insolvent.
It’s also a bit eyebrow-raising that the company’s share price jumped 20 percent yesterday. Raised the eyebrows of Prague’s stock exchange enough for it to halt trading the company’s securities for a bit. Somebody knows something we don’t (for now).
Andersia Business Centre in Poznan has landed the financing it needs to continue, after choosing Bank Zachodni WBK from a host of bids. Construction work on the foundation has already been completed (by Porr Polska), while above ground works are scheduled to begin in July. A 14-month schedule is envisioned for the €33m, 11,200 GLA building that features floorplates of 2,800 sqm. The project is part of a JV between Von der Heyden Group and the City of of Poznan.
After a period of restructuring, the developer Red Group has formally named Richard Ness as its new director, while Yvetta Nekvasilova has been promoted to development director. It also appointed Iain Fanthorpe and Seth Marks as directors at the company. The company’s founder Barry Cullen is reported as being in active strategic control while Frank Nourse will remain a shareholder in the group.