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European pension funds lose millions on Facebook shares

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EUROPE - Several European pension funds have seen millions of euros shaved off the market value of their portfolios because of the collapse in Facebook’s share price.

Pension fund managers APG and Shell Asset Management, along with Sweden’s second national buffer fund (AP2), are among investors whose Facebook holdings have halved in value since the company’s stock market launch; the shares closed at $19.05 (€15) on 17 August.

When the social media phenomenon made its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Stock Market in May, shares were priced at $38. Since then, the market value has tumbled as investors have become less bullish about the company’s growth prospects.

Documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that as at 30 June 2012, APG All Pensions Group NV held 330,500 Class A shares in Facebook, worth US$12.6m at the time of the IPO, and now valued at $6.3m.

At the same date, the Second Swedish National Pension Fund (AP2) held 88,200 shares in Facebook, costing $3.35m at launch, but now worth $1.7m. Similarly, the 61,472 shares held by Shell Asset Management Company, which runs the portfolios of the oil company’s UK and Dutch pension schemes, would have lost $1.17m since launch.

A spokesman for APG commented: “In the first six months of 2012 we made over €15bn on our investments, including the drop in the share price of Facebook.”

“It means that in the first half of this year, for each of the 2.8 million scheme members, we made over €5,000, including the €2 loss per participant on Facebook.”

As at end-June 2012, APG’s total portfolio was worth just over €300bn.

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