Shares swapped for Med home

Published on: "Telegraph"

By Graham Ruddick

One of the City’s most imaginative responses to the financial crisis – a shares-for-assets programme – has ended with 35 homes in Cyprus being acquired by shareholders of Dolphin Capital Investors.

Dolphin, an Aim-listed developer of holiday resorts in the East Mediterranean, offered investors the chance to swap their shares in the company for properties worth twice the value.

The results of the scheme, released on Tuesday, show investors snapped up 39 assets, including 35 homes in Paphos and Limassol, three residential plots and a land site in Larnaca, for a sales price of €8.8m (£7.6m).

The acquired homes were a diverse mix, including villas, ranging from 77 sq m to 244 sq m in size, slightly larger than a typical two to three storey Victorian town house in London.

The swap was taken up entirely by new investors, mainly private individuals from across Europe and Cyprus.

The scheme had targeted sales of €50m, but Miltos Kambourides, managing director, declared it a success and said Dolphin was prepared to reopen the plan later this month.

“The biggest achievement is that this programme was implemented successfully,” he said. “The first person moved in last week and called up to say thank you.”

Mr Kambourides said those that had taken-up the scheme were “brave”.

The scheme was designed to generate interest in Dolphin shares, provide an exit for shareholders, and increase the Net Asset Value per share. It also reduces Dolphin’s exposure to the volatile movements in property prices.

Last year, the company posted a €156m pre-tax loss following falls in asset values. Its shares had been down 80pc since the start of 2008, but have recovered by 23pc since the scheme’s launch in March.

Source: "Telegraph"