Franklin Templeton seeks London listing for Romanian trust

A Romanian equity investment trust run by Franklin Templeton is set to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in an attempt to broaden its investor base.

The €2.5bn (£2.1bn) trust, Fondul Proprietatea, is listed in Romania but shareholders will be asked to vote on a secondary listing at the trust’s annual general meeting at the end of April.

The trust’s board said the decision had been made following “very supportive” feedback from US, UK and Canadian clients. It cited “benefits such as broadening the foreign institutional investor base not currently active in Romania, increased visibility of the [trust], increased research coverage and potential valuation uplift”.

Fondul Proprietatea was initially established by the Romanian government in 2005 to compensate people who had had property confiscated by the country’s communist regime, which was in power until 1989.

Management of the trust passed to Franklin Templeton in 2010 and it was listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange in 2011. In three years to today (March 7) its share price has gained 34.5 per cent, according to the exchange’s data.

The trust’s board said: “The LSE has a long track record of supporting and developing emerging equity markets, and offers a dedicated and substantial pool of institutions with more than $100bn under management focused on investing in closed-end funds and investment trusts.

“Given that the fund will be one of the largest closed-end funds listed in London, it will be very visible to a global investor audience.”