Dolphin Capital Investors has halted development work, ceased investment and offered shareholders an exit via a shares buy-back programme.

The AIM-listed European residential resort developer said the ‘shares for assets’ scheme was being launched in parallel with asset sales to ‘strategic investors’.

The scheme will give shareholders the right to exchange shares in the company for certain real estate assets of the group at half their value at 31 December valuation.

It said that the purpose of the buyback was to provide and exit opportunity for existing shareholders and attract new shareholders to increase its net asset value a share.

Miltos Kambourides, managing partner of Dolphin Capital Partners, said: ‘It is a win-win situation for everyone, as the participants in the programme have an indirect way of accessing some of Dolphin’s trading assets at half their market value, while the company receives its own shares that have a net asset value which is a multiple of the asset exchange price.

'This programme will not cost anything to the company in cash terms, only relates to non-core building plots, home inventory and land held for development predominantly owned by Aristo, does not affect Dolphin’s core business and is expected to attract a lot of would-be buyers of such assets and therefore generate increased demand for the Dolphin Capital Investment shares.’

The company also said it had temporarily halted its development work and investment activities, and was exploring joint ventures in order to complete its most advanced projects.

Its net asset value in Euro terms decreased by €180m in 2008 to €1.5bn due to falls in land values and the share buy back amounts.

However, it continued to see its net asset value a share increased 32% due to the depreciation of the pound against the Euro, and a 6% increase due to the effect of the share buybacks, which was offset by an 8% fall in property values.

Aristo, its housebuilding arm, also reported a 48% decline in the number of homes booked in 2008 which it said reflected the ‘current adverse market conditions’.

It said that it had a cash balance of $166m at December 31 – slightly reduced to €161m at 6 March.

The company plans to instigate the shares for assets programme on 1 May for four months ending 1 September.