Unite plans a fundraising

STUDENT housing provider Unite is set to raise &pound;82m through a share placing, it said yesterday, to take advantage of a &ldquo;compelling business opportunity&rdquo; in London.<br /><br />It is offering 32.8bn shares, priced at 250p each and is raising the cash via a firm placing of &pound;24.6m, and an open offer of &pound;57.4m.<br /><br />The offer is fully underwritten by Numis and JPMorgan Cazenove, Unite said.<br /><br />It will use the cash to help it snap up properties around the capital to exploit a lack of student homes in the area.<br /><br />&ldquo;There are 250,000 students in London, but only 42,000 purpose built beds,&rdquo; Unite Group said yesterday.<br /><br />Chief financial officer Joe Lister said the group was looking to buy up properties on the City fringe, in Shoreditch and the South Bank, as well as in the Bloomsbury and Euston area.<br /><br />&ldquo;The supply of good quality, well-located student accommodation continues to lag behind demand,&rdquo; Unite chairman Phil White said.<br /><br />&ldquo;In this context, the board believes that London represents a particularly attractive market for expansion,&rdquo; he added. The company is not looking to expand outside of London.<br /><br />The new builds are expected to add between 1,200 and 1,500 bed spaces a year to the capital between 2012 and 2014.<br /><br />The share sale is the latest in a series of fundraising measures for the company. It has made &pound;1.2bn of asset sales in the last three years.