Shaftesbury raises cash to expand

LONDON landlord Shaftesbury yesterday tapped investors for £102m in a share placement to help fund acquisitions as more assets come up for sale in its core West End market.

The real estate investor, which owns more than 500 shops, restaurants and bars in the West End, said it had placed 22.7m new ordinary shares at 450p each – a five per cent discount to its Wednesday closing price.

Shaftesbury said opportunities to buy property assets in West End locations were increasing as the government and local authorities sold assets, and as building sales delayed by the global financial crisis returned to market.

The firm said it has spent the majority of the £149m raised during its last rights issue in 2009 on acquiring new buildings.

“This placing will ensure we have the financial resources to take advantage of an acceleration in rarely available long-term investments now emerging, particularly in and around Berwick Street,” said chief executive Jonathan Lane.

JPMorgan Securities and Execution Noble were the joint bookrunners for the placing, equivalent to 9.99 per cent of existing Shaftesbury shares.

The group also said it was evaluating new long-term debt options to bolster its capital structure.