Colonial pat about asset sales as stock suspended

3rd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Inmobiliaria Colonial on Wednesday sought to downplay the reasons behind the sale of assets as trading in the company's shares was suspended.

3 January 2008

MADRID - Troubled Spanish real-estate firm Inmobiliaria Colonial on Wednesday sought to downplay the reasons behind the sale of assets as trading in the company's shares was suspended.

Colonial said it sold assets last year worth EUR 839 million at a premium of 9 percent to their valuation at the end of 2006. The latest sales in late December included logistics sites in Madrid and Barcelona for EUR 201.6 million and the sale of an office block in Barcelona for EUR 107.9 million.

Colonial's share price plunged about 40 percent in the last two trading sessions of 2007 prompting company chairman Luis Portillo and other directors to stand down. The National Securities Commission (CNMV) decided to suspend trading in Colonial's shares before Wednesday's session opened.

In a subsequent statement to the CNMV, Colonial said the sale of property formed part of the company's normal rotation of assets.

Property companies in general having been suffering from the credit crunch sparked by the US subprime mortgage crisis. Investor concerns focused on Colonial because of its high levels of debt. Financial debt at the end of September of last year stood at EUR 8.934 billion.

Colonial said it planned to reduce its stake in French real estate firm Société Foncière Lyonnaise below 60 percent by the end of this year.

[Copyright El Pais / A. SIM 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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