Port of Belgrade: Share Price Determined by Auditors, Effect of Free Conversion Cannot Be Calculated In

Source: Beta Wednesday, 13.09.2023. 10:33
(Photo: Shutterstock/Baloncici)
Regarding the protests of the small shareholders due to the low price of their shares at the compulsory acquisition of shares, the company Luka Beograd (Port of Belgrade) announced that the price had been determined by authorized auditors and that the effect of the free conversion of the right to use building land into the right of ownership could not be calculated in.

– The allegations of the small shareholders regarding the valuation of building land following the potential conversion of the right of use into the right of ownership are irrelevant – the company said.

According to the small shareholders, the compulsory acquisition of shares took place in March and April this year, because the owner acquired over 90% of the capital, which gives the owner the right to enforce the buyout of the remaining shares, and they were bought out at a price of EUR 0.5 per share.

The value of the shares at the Belgrade Stock Exchange at that moment was RSD 800, according to the shareholders, and they were also traded at a price of EUR 80 per share. They requested the owner of the company to pay them the value of the share, taking into account the free conversion of the right to use building land into the right of ownership, whereby, as they said, the value of the company increased to over EUR 2 billion.

The Port of Belgrade said that, at the time of determining the price of shares, the effect of the free conversion could not be taken into account, “since neither then nor now has the conversion been carried out, and certainly the announcement of the law, as an uncertain future circumstance, cannot be valued in the procedure of determining the value of the shares.”

It is added that “it is interesting that, in making the decision to take part in the recapitalization of the Port of Belgrade, the small shareholders were only guided by the potential profit, and not the possibility of sharing the fate of the company in the circumstances of potential losses.”

It remains unclear, as the Port of Belgrade said, why, if protesting is a way for the shareholders to publicly present their position, they didn’t protest when the Law on Planning and Construction in 2009 removed the possibility of construction based on the right of use, which also thwarted the project in which they wanted to be partners (they took part in the recapitalization), which did the most damage to their financial interest.

The company points out that no hearing has yet been held as part of the lawsuit of the small shareholders for determining the value of the share and that the lawsuit of 14 shareholders for annulling the decision of the company’s Assembly on the compulsory acquisition of shares was dismissed as untimely.

The CEO of the Port of Belgrade, as the media report, is the Belgrade-based businessman Milan Beko, who used to own the Worldfin fund, which bought the shares of the Port of Belgrade in 2005. The disputes about that privatization ended only in 2020, when, among others, the former minister of justice Predrag Bubalo and the director of the Privatization Agency Goran Mrdja were acquitted of the charges of abuse of position.

Today, the majority owner of the Port of Belgrade is Metico Investment with 93.76% of the shares, and the rest was owned by small shareholders. According to the data of the credit rating house CompanyWall, Metico Investment, whose director is Goran Mrdja, is 100% owned by Oradea Monoprosopi IKE.

Goran Mrdja performed the duties of the director of the Port of Belgrade between September 2012 and August 2013.

The portal of the company Port of Belgrade says that the company is taking active part in the development and further urbanization of the Belgrade coastal area, and once it planned the construction of a coastal settlement on 100 ha of the total of 200 ha that the company uses.

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