Ladbrokes to raise 300m

BETTING giant Ladbrokes will today call on investors to participate in a &pound;300m rights issue as it struggles to pay off mounting debts.<br /><br />The bookmaker has moved to cut costs and has already slashed its dividend but is still battling a debt pile which had reached &pound;962m at the half year.<br /><br />The firm, which is being advised by UBS and Deutsche Bank, is now expected to issue shares at 109p, a 40 per cent discount to yesterday&rsquo;s closing price of 181.2p.<br /><br />Ladbrokes, led by chief executive Chris Bell, wants to cut its debts to three times pre-tax profit, echoing a similar move by rival William Hill, which went cap in hand to investors for &pound;350m earlier this year.<br /><br />The move comes as Ladbrokes prepares to enter new debt discussions with Deutsche and fellow lender RBS, with repayments due to begin in 2011.