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Quintain set for a 180m rights issue

QUINTAIN Estates, which recently sold its stake in the O2 Arena, hopes to raise up to &pound;180m from shareholders to shore up its finances and fund its development plans in the Greenwich peninsula.<br /><br />The rights issue, which is expected to be announced this week, is thought to have the backing of major shareholders and will be handled by JP Morgan Cazenove.<br /><br />It is the first major move by Quintain&rsquo;s new chairman William Rucker, who runs the London arm of Lazard and serves as the investment bank&rsquo;s deputy chairman. Lazard is expected to be involved in the fund-raising.<br /><br />Quintain, which owns much of the Greenwich Peninsula as well as land around Wembley Stadium and the Bristol &amp; Bath Science Park, will become the latest property company to tap investors for fresh funds, following Songbird Estates&rsquo; recent &pound;800m fund-raising, the biggest in the property sector. <br /><br />The move comes after plans to raise new funds were pulled at the last minute in the spring. The money raised will be used for paying down debt and funding acquisitions. Quintain recently reaped &pound;11.8m from the sale of its interest in the O2 entertainment complex at the Millennium Dome to Cambridge University&rsquo;s <br />Trinity College. It is developing the 150-acre estate surrounding the east London venue. <br /><br />Quintain is also developing Wembley City, where it is building a hotel in a joint venture with Summit Hotels. The company declined to comment on the planned rights issue.