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Nov 02, 2007 13:13 EEST
November 2 (SeeNews) - Serbian blue-chip soybean producer Sojaprotein Becej said on Friday it will delay a planned 14.2 million euro ($20.6 million) capital hike to the first half of next year, as the current market price of its stock is lower than the issue price it had set for its new shares.
The offering of 53,900 new shares at an issue price of 20,600 dinars each had been initially scheduled to start on Friday.
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Shares in Sojaprotein, however, traded at 19,601 dinars ($367/253 euro) around 1030 GMT on Friday on the Belgrade bourse, up 0.55% from Thursday, when they fell 0.43%.
On October 1, Sojaprotein stock traded at 23,136 dinars. Since then, the price has fallen over 18%.
“Considering the current situation on the Belgrade bourse and the legal ban on correcting the issue price, Sojaprotein’s management team and the company’s largest investors decided to delay the announced new share issue to the first half of 2008, which is in favour of all Sojaprotein’s investors,” the company said in a statement to the Belgrade Stock Exchange (BELEX).
A severe correction has been going on BELEX, with the blue-chip index ending down for a seventeenth session in a row on Thursday. The Serbian market has continued with dull trading and tiny turnovers in September and October after the listless summer holiday period. Brokers say the ongoing uncertainty over the future status of Kosovo is scaring investors away from the Serbian market and is the main obstacle to the market's recovery.
In September, a new round of talks on the status of the volatile U.N.-run southern Serbian province started, which has a December 10 deadline. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority have repeatedly said they will unilaterally declare independence the day the talks are scheduled to end regardless of their outcome. The U.S. and most EU countries are thought to be ready to recognise Kosovo’s independence, while Russia and Serbia adamantly oppose it.
The new share issue is part of the Sojaprotein's plans to raise up to 30 million euro on the stock exchange to finance the construction of a new soy protein isolate factory. The factory is expected to increase the company's annual revenue by between 30 and 40 million euro and its profit by more than seven million euro. Soy protein isolate is made from defatted soy meal by removing most of the fats and carbohydrates, yielding a product with 90% protein content. It is mainly used in the food industry.
The work on the soy protein isolate factory project will continue as scheduled, the statement said. Significant funds will be necessary in the first half of 2008, when construction works will start, until then the project will be financed from the company's own sources.
Sojaprotein posted 9.3 million euro in net profit for the first nine months of the year. Comparative figures were unavailable.
The company has a nominal share capital of 2.5 billion dinars distributed into 1,078,000 shares. Local diversified holding company Victoria group is the largest single shareholder in Sojaprotein with a 31% stake. The rest is in the hands of small shareholders.
(1 euro = 77.3263 Serbian dinars)
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