FirstGroup gets near 90 per cent support for critical rights issue

David Hellier
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FIRSTGROUP, the heavily indebted transport group that was forced into launching a £615m equity issue, has seen substantial take-up from shareholders despite rocky markets.

According to market sources last night, the rights issue attracted support from more than 88 per cent of shareholders, leaving a £60m-£70m rump of shares for the bookrunners to sell in the market.

Those on the deal said the rump of shares would be sold easily.

The rights shares have been priced at 85p, a massive 62 per cent discount to the share price ahead of the announcement of the deal.

There was some speculation last night that FirstGroup might seek a new corporate broker after the dust has settled from the deal. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are brokers to the group but former JP Morgan banker Ian Hannam was drafted in to help with the deal. Hannam brought in Bank of America Merrill Lynch to work on the-deal as a bookrunner.