Unigestion swings to profit, goes private

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SWITZERLAND - Swiss alternative investments firm Unigestion – reporting a swing to profit in 2002 - is to take itself into private ownership.

Unigestion’s majority shareholder, Unigestion Management Holding Fribourg, said it “has decided to launch a public purchase offer in Switzerland for all the publicly held bearer shares of Unigestion”.

The offer was worth 91 Swiss francs (62.1 euros) per share in cash, a 15% premium on the company’s average closing price during February.

It said the reason for going private was due to the “minimal liquidity” in its shares and the costs of listing and the management time it takes up.

“The offer will be subject to no material adverse change to Unigestion’s business,” it said.

The company made a 3.1 million franc (2.1 million euro) net profit in 2002, compared to a loss of 2.5 million francs in 2001. Operating income rose 38% to 27.0 million francs. Assets under management rose 6% to 4.5 billion francs.

It said the return on its securities portfolio was 4.1% in 2002 in original currencies. “This was achieved as a result of the alternative bias of our securities portfolio, which is primarily invested in hedge funds.”

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