Activists take Aim on property funds

Investors Chronicle – Activist investor Laxey has sunk its claws into yet another Aim-traded overseas property fund. Having built up a 9 per cent stake in Indian township developer Hirco, it wrote to management this week demanding they take action to address the whopping 90 per cent discount to net asset value (NAV) at which the shares were trading.

Laxey is calling for Hirco to use cash held in subsidiary companies to mount a share buy-back programme to address the discount. The news caused Hirco’s shares to bounce 8 per cent to 79p, but this remains woefully below the last stated NAV of 682p, and 79 per cent lower than a year ago. Laxey’s intervention follows hot on the heels of action from fellow activist Carrousel. It is targeting Indian real estate fund Trikona, calling for a break-up and return of cash to shareholders. Trikona is trading at a 72 per cent discount to its last stated NAV.

Activists have also recently jumped on board Equest Balkan Properties, Spazio, Bulgarian Land Development and NR Nordic and Russian Properties – and these won’t be the last.

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