Original Article (English)
Fuente: Nick Fletcher – guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 12 March 2013
British Land raises millions to fund new office purchases
Commercial property group sells its 20-storey Ropemaker Place development as part of fundraising to take advantage of ‘a clear acceleration in the flow of opportunities’
British Land has unveiled plans to build up a near £1bn warchest to take advantage of a growing number of retail and office properties coming onto the market.
The group has sold its 20-storey Ropemaker Place development in the City of London for £472m – around 1.4% above its value in the books – and is raising another £500m from shareholders by placing 89m shares, which represents 9.9% of the company. Analysts said the placing price was likely to be around 558p a share, and in the market British Land has fallen 17.5p to 563p following the news.
It said: “In recent months [we have] seen a clear acceleration in the flow of opportunities … Many of these are being driven by structural changes, as institutions reconfigure their property holdings and smaller companies look to exit the UK market.
“In addition the company believes that vendors are showing an increasing realism around values, with access to financing continuing to constrain many buyers. These factors have been important features behind many of the company’s recent acquisitions, such as the Clarges Estate in Mayfair and Wereldhave’s London portfolio.”
The placing will help fund £213m of recent purchases and another £150m in negotiation.
British Land is the latest in a string of property companies to raise cash to fund expansion. Rival shopping centre owner Intu Properties – shortly to be demoted from the FTSE 100 – recently announced plans to tap shareholders for funds to buy the Midsummer Place centre in Milton Keynes.
Analyst Alan Carter at Investec said: “British Land’s track record has been pretty good, which is why we like the company and prospects from acquisitions seem reasonable enough. A good re-cycling history helps the argument for raising more capital. With cash flow into the sector and into dedicated real estate investment trust funds, we expect it will be supported reasonably well. The Ropemaker Place sale completes the re-balancing of the London office portfolio to 50/50 between City and West End, which has always been a target.
“The only concern for the sector is the constant fund raisings. Great Portland Estates, St. Modwen, Intu, and now British Land… In the end, there will be one too many… we still expect the sector to underperform the rising equity market.”