31 Aug 2010 16:55

Raven Russia planning buyback for compensating shareholder losses after drop in stock quotations

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) - British company Raven Russia, which specializes in the construction of logistics centers in Russia, is planning a partial buyback of its shares with an offer for the market, the company said in a statement.

Despite rising stock quotations, Raven's shares are trading at a 22% discount against the value of net asset. "We see the buy-back as an effective way of returning funds to our shareholders," the statement said.

Raven Russia intends to acquire up to 9.26 million shares at 54 pence per share, which equals a 9% premium on the current quotation. Total funds that could be earmarked for this offer will come to 5 million pound. The offer needs the approval of shareholders and option holders in Raven Russia. This process should be finished at the start of October.

The company said that the its sales revenue went up by 40% in the first half to $62.7 million while operational profit increased from $25.4 million in the same period of 2009 to $27.1 million. Pretax profit came to $8.1 million compared to losses at $149.6 million a year earlier. This figure includes $31 million in profit from an asset reassessment while losses totalling $129 million were posted following a similar reassessment in 2009.

Raven Russia's goals in organic development through integration of its acquisitions, the company's CEO Glyn Hirsch was cited in the statement. "We are participating in negotiations for several potential acquisitions of already built facilities and land plots," he said.

Raven Russia had $113 million in its accounts at the end of the first half.

"So, we have survived the crisis, finished construction and done enough to rest easy," Hirsch said.

Nonetheless, Hirsch said that Raven Russia is looking at the future without much optimism. "The problems of countries with high debt will be worse and, unfortunately, we know that Russia will suffer when the situation in these economic again start to worsen," he said.

"Therefore, by boosting the company's value for shareholders, we will maintain liquidity in order to make it through the next unavoidable wave of global adversity," Hirsch said.

Raven Russia, which specializes in the construction of logistics centers in Russia, held an IPO on the AIM on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in July 2005 and raised 153 million pounds. In the future, Raven has held several additional placements, including one in February 2009.