Dolphin makes splash in Cyprus(2)

Dolphin Capital Investors, the Fortress-backed private equity firm that focuses on Southeast Europe, is acquiring Aristo Developments for a total of €438m.

Dolphin Capital Investors has bought an 80 percent stake in Aristo Developers, the largest developer of holiday homes in Cyprus.

Dolphin is paying a total of €438 million ($570 million) to acquire Aristo, comprised of €289 million in equity and the remainder in debt.

The private equity firm revealed today that it has so far secured 60 percent of the shares for €128.5 million from Aristo founder Theodoris Arisodimou and a further 20 percent from the second largest shareholder in the firm for €57.9 million.

Dolphin plans to seal the takeover by investing a further €57.9 million in buying the outstanding 20 percent via a public tender offer. It is offering to buy the shares at €2.15 each, a premium of 8.5 percent to Aristo’s share price on the day prior to the offer.

With 13 million square feet of land, Aristo is thought to be the largest private landowner in Cyprus. Its holdings are sufficient for an estimated 10,000 freehold residential units to be developed.

Jewels in the existing landbank portfolio include “Venus Rock”, a 1,000 hectare sea-front site expected to comprise three golf courses, more than 3,000 homes and a 5-star hotel. The company currently owns three of the 12 preliminary licenses granted for golf-integrated residential resorts by the Cypriot government.

The acquisition dramatically accelerates Dolphin’s land acquisition strategy in Southeast Europe, doubling the number of sites it owns. It also means Dolphin will have invested substantially all of its remaining €250 million of capital.

Dolphin was founded in the summer of 2005 with €5 million of seed capital, including capital from Fortress Investment Group. Shares in the company have almost doubled since it floated 18 months ago on the Alternative Investment Market.  Today, the firm’s market capitalization of £467million makes it one of the largest companies on the junior stock exchange.

In February, the company announced a €30 million investment for a 90 percent stake in a Croatian project. The 56-hecatre Likvia Bay Resort is located on the Croatian island of Solta and is expected to consist of a 160-berth marina and luxury hotel.

Dolphin was founded by Miltos Kambourides and Pierre Charalambides, formerly of Soros Real Estate Partners.