Altus to Use IPO Cash for Fund Takeovers as Poles Boost Savings

Altus Towarzystwo Funduszy Inwestycyjnych SA, a Polish asset management company, plans to raise 200 million zloty ($66 million) from an initial public offering to finance domestic acquisitions, expecting the country’s growing savings to boost the mutual-funds industry.

Altus will offer 16.4 million new shares and its owners, including founder and Chief Executive Officer Piotr Osiecki, plan to sell a further 2 million shares, according to an IPO prospectus published today. The maximum sale price will be set by tomorrow and bookbuilding will end on June 25. The Warsaw-based fund plans to sell a 32 percent stake in the IPO.

Polish mutual funds, which managed 198.2 billion zloty of assets at the end of last month, have been among the country’s most rapidly growing financial-services companies over the past decade as Poles sought higher returns amid record-low interest rates. The industry may get a further boost after the government scaled down domestic pension funds this year to cut public debt.

“We want to consolidate the fragmented market,” Osiecki said at a news conference in Warsaw today. “We see Poles increasing interest in savings, especially after the recent pension overhaul. This is an opportunity for us.”

Pension Changes

In February the government seized 51.5 percent of assets, mostly Treasury notes, managed by privately-run pension funds. As part of the overhaul, Poles will also decide until the end of July whether they want to continue saving with pension funds or switch to a state-controlled pay-as-you-go system.

Altus, which manages 5.2 billion zloty of assets, plans to buy another “mid-sized” fund, Osiecki said, declining to reveal any names of potential takeover targets or details of negotiations. The company could buy a mutual fund from Bank BPH SA or Skarbiec TFI SA from Enterprise Investors, Puls Biznesu reported yesterday.

Altus’s offering is set to be the second largest in Warsaw this year after Prime Car Management SA’s 209.6 million-zloty share sale in April. The bourse’s WIG30 Index of the biggest and most liquid stocks has gained 4.8 percent this year, compared with a 5.3 decline in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

The company plans to pay as much as 100 percent of profit as a dividend.

“Altus is another financial company that may attract investors with high dividends and an interesting business model,” Rafal Janczyk, who helps manage the equivalent of $3.9 billion at Aviva Investors Poland SA in Warsaw, said by phone today. “The argument that the pension overhaul will boost savings seems to be a wishful thinking.”

Mercurius Financial Advisors Sp. z o.o. is helping manage the offering.

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