Marfin mega-fund sees rapid deployment

South Eastern European investment firm Marfin Investment Group has deployed much of the €5.2bn it raised from the public markets in June.

Greek investment firm Marfin Investment Group (MIG) is on track to invest 80 percent of the €5.2 billion ($7.66 billion) it raised in June this year by January 2008, according to a source close to the company.

The group’s profits were up fivefold to €395.2 million for the nine months to September 30 2007 from €83.1 million for the same period last year, the firm said in its third quarter results.

MIG owns an 80 percent stake in the largest food company in the region, Vivartia, which is partially listed on the Athens Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of €2.04 billion. It decreased its holding from 91.6 percent to the present total in a €266 million sale earlier this month to undisclosed institutional and regional investors.

MIG also has a majority stake in Serbian department store Robne Kuce Beograd, acquired for an undisclosed sum in October. The original auction of the department store was won by property investor Verano, which acquired 100 percent of the business and then immediately sold 66.6 percent to MIG for €360 million.

It also has a 56 percent stake in Eastern Mediterranean ferry operator Attica Holdings and owns minority stakes in: Greek health group Hygeia Hospital; the largest South Eastern Europe telecoms operator ???; Greek IT company Singular Logic; and Hilton Cyprus.

At the beginning of this month Dubai Holding-owned Dubai Financial Group invested €374.5 million for a 6.45 percent stake in MIG. Dubai Financial also paid €237.6 million for a 2.5 percent stake in prior MIG owner Marfin Popular Bank. The Dubai firm’s investment took its stake in Marfin Investment Group to 16 percent and in Marfin Popular Bank to 19.9 percent.