Sunday 22 October 2017

Hedge fund managed by billionaire investor George Soros has cut its stake in Hibernia Reit

George Soros is cutting back
George Soros is cutting back
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

The hedge fund managed by billionaire investor George Soros has cut its stake in Hibernia Reit, in the latest sign of opportunistic buyers reducing their exposure to Irish companies.

In a stock exchange announcement, Hibernia said Soros Fund Management had cut its holing in Hibernia to 3.77pc from 5.64pc.

The move is yet another indicator that the "fast money" is leaving the Irish market, and the property sector in particular. Another hedge fund, Paulson & Co, has steadily cut its stake in Hibernia peer Green Reit to under 3pc this year, having at one stage held over 9pc of that company.

Those investors are being replaced in turn by large, so-called mature investors who are seen as buying into companies for the long term. While Soros Fund Management was selling down its holding, Edinburgh-based asset manager Standard Life was increasing its holding. The firm, which has some £253bn (€324bn) of assets under management, controls some 3.74pc of Hibernia. Blackrock - the world's largest asset manager - and Morgan Stanley Investment Managers have also taken large stakes in Hibernia in recent weeks.

A Hibernia Reit spokesman said the firm was "seeing a broadening of [its] shareholder base, with an increase in the holdings of long-term specialist property investors, attracted by the sustained recovery in the Dublin office sector on which Hibernia focuses".

"This has been helped by the decision to internalise our management team and our entry into the EPRA Index last September, both of which allow a wider range of institutions to buy our shares," he added.

Hibernia shares closed up 1.17pc at €1.30.

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