Monday, February 9, 2009
Back to business
Britain's leading property companies are preparing to tap shareholders for as much as £2 billion in deeply discounted equity fundraisings as they seek to repair their balance sheets and ease pressure on covenants. The news comes as figures to be published today by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) show that demand for buying and letting commercial property has fallen to new lows after the fifth consecutive quarterly decline. Hammerson, the owner of Brent Cross shopping centre in North London, and part-owner of the Bullring in Birmingham, is today expected to kick off the equity rush by announcing plans for an estimated £600 million rights issue, underwritten by Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, at about half its current share price.