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GTC Developer Says Kardan Plans to Sell Controlling Stake

Kardan NV, the Amsterdam-based real estate investment company, is seeking to sell its controlling stake in Globe Trade Centre SA, Poland’s second-largest property developer, to pay back its own debt.

“A few” investors are performing due diligence on the Warsaw-based company and the process could lead to a sale of Kardan’s 27.8 percent holding to a strategic investor this year, Kardan and GTC said in regulatory statements today. The stake’s market value was 643 million zloty ($206 million) based on yesterday’s closing price on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Kardan is raising cash to improve liquidity and meet “loan repayment obligations,” including payback of debt due in February 2014 and in 2015, it said in the statement. The company sold 15 percent of GTC for 754.7 million zloty in 2011 to financial investors and 160.8 million zloty of shares on the stock market in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The news is positive in the medium term as it reduces the risk of share placement on the market,” Andrzej Knigawka, an analyst at ING Groep NV’s Warsaw unit, said by phone. “The chances of a transaction materializing are high as GTC said that there are several companies conducting due diligence.”

Shares Jump

Kardan shares surged the most in five months in Amsterdam trading, climbing as much as 14 percent. GTC jumped as much as 5.4 percent and traded 2.8 percent higher at 7.45 zloty as of 1:19 p.m. in Warsaw, trimming this year’s drop to 25 percent.

Acquiring a strategic investor “might support GTC with its asset disposal and development plans,” Malgorzata Kloka, an analyst at UniCredit SpA in Warsaw wrote in a note today.

GTC, which focuses on office buildings, shopping centers and residential properties, posted losses in eight of the last nine quarters as eastern Europe’s economic slowdown cut the value of properties.

“Investors welcomed the announcement as Kardan is selling the stake due to its challenging liquidity position and not because GTC is a bad investment,” Cezary Bernatek, a Warsaw-based analyst at Banco Espirito Santo SA, said by phone.

Kardan, which hired Citigroup Inc. to advise on the sale, was cut to junk at Standard & Poor’s Maalot in March on a delay in selling assets “critical” for the company to fulfill its “significant debt repayments.”

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