Postal strife hurts Barratt

PROPERTY group Barratt Developments yesterday voiced concerns that national postal strikes might affect the take-up of its &pound;720m rights issue.<br /><br />Barratt Developments issued a notice to shareholders urging them to promptly take up their share entitlement, or use another courier service to return their applications.<br /><br />In a statement to the stock market yesterday, the company said shareholders should check the Royal Mail website for delivery times before posting documents.<br /><br />&ldquo;In the light of the recent and proposed further industrial action by the Communication Workers Union, Barratt strongly advises... shareholders to respond promptly following receipt of provisional allotment letters if they wish to take up some or all of their entitlement under the rights issue,&rdquo; the firm said in the statement. <br /><br />This is the first time that a company in the middle of a fundraising has voiced concerns that share take up might be affected by the postal strikes. <br /><br />Shareholders have until 11am on 3 November to return their acceptance forms, but most only received them during the middle of last week &ndash; giving them a window of just ten days to return their form. The group is understood to have no plans to extend its deadline. <br /><br />Around 9,729 individual investors own Barratt shares, accounting for approximately 10 per cent of the shareholders who could be affected.<br /><br />David Wilson, chairman and co-founder of Wilson Bowden Homes ?&ndash; which was snapped up by Barratt in 2007 &ndash; has already committed to subscribe to &pound;10m worth of shares.<br /><br /><br /><strong>ADVISERS TO BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS</strong><br /><br />BARRATT Developments is using long- term advisers UBS and Credit Suisse to run its cash call.<br /><br />UBS appointed managing director John Wooland and colleagues Jackie Lee and Christopher Smith to head the team. Smith recently worked on J Sainsbury&rsquo;s successful &pound;432m share placing. Lee worked on the $3.1bn (&pound;1.9bn) buyout offer of waste-collection and recycling company Biffa by Global Infrastructure Partners, HBOS and Montagu Private Equity last year.<br /><br />Credit Suisse appointed managing director John Hannaford, head of European business services and a vice president of UK coverage group William Maclaren. Hannaford, a qualified accountant has worked at Credit Suisse since 2004, prior to which he was managing director of investment banking at HSBC in London. He also sits on the board of blindness research charity Fight for Sight<br /><br />Barratt is raising &pound;545.5m via a 1.3-for-1 rights issue priced at 100p per new share. The firm also said it would place 72.9m new shares with investors at 240p, raising an additional &pound;175m.