AAA Auto Slumps as Volume Surges on Delisting Plan: Prague Mover

AAA Auto Group NV had the steepest drop and the largest traded volume in 18 months after the chain of used-car dealerships announced plans to delist its shares.

The stock slumped as much as 31 percent and ended the day down 13 percent at 21.50 koruna, its biggest one-day retreat since August 2011. Turnover at more than 480,585 shares, the biggest in Prague’s PX index today, compares with 275,133 for the whole of January, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The PX index increased 0.5 percent today and is up 1 percent this week.

AAA Auto, the smallest member of the 13-strong gauge with a 0.1 percent weighting, proposed to remove all of its 67.8 million shares from Prague and Budapest trading in an invitation to an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on March 29 published on the company’s website late yesterday. The exit would leave the Czech market, where trading volumes hit a 10-year low in 2012, with 27 listed stocks, the second-least in Europe following Malta, data from the Prague bourse and the Federation of European Securities Exchanges show.

“The withdrawal of shares from trading limits the ability of shareholders to realize the value of their shares, and we therefore rate the news as negative,” analysts led by Milan Vanicek at J&T Banka AS in Prague wrote in a report today.

AAA Auto’s founder and former Chief Executive Officer Anthony Denny, who owns about 77 percent of the shares, said six months ago he plans to sell his stake.

“The company doesn’t know why the main shareholder intends to discontinue trading with AAA Auto shares,” spokesman Michal Hackl said in response to e-mailed question today. If the plan is approved by shareholders in March, the company will offer to buy out all minority stakes, he said.

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