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Atrium Considers Secondary Listing on the Warsaw Exchange

Atrium European Real Estate Ltd., a developer of shopping malls in eastern Europe, is “seriously reviewing” a secondary listing on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Chief Executive Officer Rachel Lavine said.

The company is evaluating what effect this would have on Atrium’s listings in Vienna and Amsterdam, Lavine said in a telephone interview today. The CEO couldn’t say when a decision will be made.

Polish pension funds are allowed to invest no more than 5 percent of their assets abroad. This has attracted dual listings of companies including Czech utility CEZ AS, Mol Nyrt. of Hungary and Italy’s UniCredit SpA in Warsaw. Property developers Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs AG and Plaza Centers NV also trade in the Polish capital, while fellow Austrian Immoeast dropped its Warsaw listing as part of a merger with Immofinanz AG in 2010.

The Warsaw Stock Exchange, the most rapidly developing market in the region, had the most new listings in Europe last year. A total of 189 companies sold shares in initial public offerings in Poland last year, more than for all western European markets combined and second after China among emerging countries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average share sale in Poland was $16 million, compared with $252 million in western Europe.

Higher Earnings

Atrium today announced a 29 percent increase in full-year net income to 143.3 million euros ($187 million) and plans to raise its dividend to 17 cents a share from 14 cents. Lavine said she’s “cautiously optimistic” about 2012, though the company’s performance will depend on economies in eastern Europe.

Atrium, based in Jersey and controlled by Gazit Globe Ltd. and CPI CEE Management LLC, made acquisitions in Poland and the Czech Republic last year and is seeking targets in those two countries and Slovakia, Lavine said.

Atrium also is working on improving its capital structure to achieve investment grade, the CEO said. The company has BB+ ratings at Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, the highest non-investment grade. Fitch in October raised its outlook on the rating to positive.

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