Canary Wharf’s majority owner strikes deal with shareholders

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in the holding company and main shareholder behind Canary Wharf Group were given a boost yesterday after it changed the terms of its preference shares, in a move it said will improve the group’s financial position.

Songbird Estates, which owns 69 per cent in Canary Wharf, said it has reached an agreement with China Investment Corporation (CIC) and Qatar Holding, who together hold £275m of preference shares.

The changes include the removal of an early redemption option that would have allowed shareholders to cash in their preference shares in 2014, leaving Songbird to come up with the cash or pay hefty interest charges.

The deal also lowers the coupon payable on the preference shares from the current fixed rate of 10 per cent a year. It also allows the payment of dividends on ordinary shares without the consent of the preference shareholders.

Songbird said it will seek approval at its annual general meeting on 30 August, when it will also propose to buy back ordinary shares of “up to a maximum of five per cent of the issued share capital of the company”.

Shares rose 1.69 per cent yesterday to 105.25p.