September 18, 2014 / 5:48 PM / 3 years ago

Romania Fondul shares slip from record high

BUCHAREST, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Shares in Romanian restitution fund Fondul Proprietatea lost 1 percent on Thursday, reversing some of the previous session’s gains when they hit a record high.

Fondul’s gains on Wednesday were largely driven by talk it had hired Goldman Sachs and Erste Bank to help unload shares it holds in top oil and gas group Petrom, majority-controlled by Austria’s OMV.

The 3.4 billion euro ($4.4 billion) Fondul, set up to compensate Romanians whose assets were seized under communism, holds minority stakes in a slew of state firms and has sold shares in gas producer Romgaz and power and gas grid operators Transelectrica and Transgaz.

In May last year, the fund, which is managed by Franklin Templeton, sold a 1 percent stake in Petrom at a 12 percent discount.

But a source close to the issue told Reuters on Thursday no mandate to sell further Petrom shares had been given yet.

Fondul owns a 19 percent stake in Petrom, valued at more than 1 billion euros. In March, it said it was considering lowering its holding in the company to below 15 percent but offered no clear timetable for the plan.

“We announced in March that ... we are analyzing our strategic options to potentially lower our participation,” Templeton’s Fondul manager Grzegorz Konieczny said.

“When new material developments related to this transaction appear we will communicate them.”

Fondul shares fell 1 percent to 0.9310 lei ($0.273) per share on Thursday, after touching an all-time high of 0.9480 lei in the previous session.

It has been buying back its own shares in a bid to narrow the discount between its net asset value and its stock price, which stood at roughly 30 percent at the end of August. (1 US dollar = 0.7741 euro) (1 US dollar = 3.4106 Romanian lei) (Reporting by Alexander Huebner and Luiza Ilie; editing by David Clarke)

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