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Great Portland in 175m fund raising

David Hellier
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THE West-end focused property group Great Portland Estates yesterday launched a &pound;175m rights issue in order to take advantage of depressed values in the central London property market.<br /><br />The rights shares, which will be&nbsp;underwritten by Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Cazenove, are being issued at 133p each, at a 53.4 per cent discount to Monday evening&rsquo;s closing price.<br /><br />The advisers maintained that a discount just above 50 per cent was needed in order to get the cash call fully underwritten.<br /><br />Group chief executive Toby Courtauld said the issue proceeds would give the company resources of around &pound;640m with which to make attractive invesments.<br /><br />&ldquo;We will look to invest in fundamentally cheap property assets in our core central London markets whilst maintaining our rigorous and disciplined investment approach,&rdquo; Courtauld said.<br /><br />The capital raising was announced as Great Portland announced a &pound;436m pre-tax loss for the year to 31 March, a deficit that reflected reduced property valuations and losses on disposals. Adjusted net assets per share fell by 44 per cent over the year.<br /><br /><br /> <!--StartFragment--><strong> CREDIT SUISSE<br /><br />JAMES-LEIGH PEMBERTON<br /></strong><br />JAMES Leigh-Pemberton of Credit Suisse, one of the Treasury&rsquo;s advisers on the bank&nbsp;bailouts, worked with a team of four on&nbsp;the deal. He was present at Friday&rsquo;s dress rehearsal.<br /><br />Credit Suisse is jointly under-writing the issue with JP Morgan Cazenove, the firm that has been almost ever present in the recent run of rights issues. JP Morgan&rsquo;s team is led by Jonathan Wilcox, while colleague Bronson Albery is the man with the strongest relationship with the company.<br /><br />Also providing advice is investment banker Patrick Long of Lazard, who advises Great Portland long-term. <!--EndFragment-->