Shaftesbury taps shareholders for £307mln as coronavirus impact hits London’s West End

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Shaftesbury PLC (LON:SHB), the owner of a big chunk of London’s West End properties, is tapping shareholders for £307mln to help it through the coronavirus crisis.

The FTSE 250 group has more than 600 restaurant, pub and retail tenants and warned in September it was concerned about possible new restrictions in London with many of its tenants already on support measures.

Since then, the UK capital has been placed under a Tier-2 lockdown that means pubs and restaurants have severe limitations on how they can operate but do not receive government support as technically they are not shut.

Tier-2 has been described as the worst of both worlds by the hospitality sector trade body.

In a statement, Shaftesbury said: ”Continuing restrictions implemented by the Government, and the uncertainty regarding their duration and extent, has had, and continues to have, a material adverse effect on normal patterns of activity and business in the West End.”

The £307mln is being raised through a combination of a firm placing, placing and open offer at a price of 400p per share, which is around a 20% discount to the close last night of 497p.

Major shareholders Capital & Counties (26.3%) and Norges (25.9%), which combined speak for 52.2% of the shares in issue, are backing the fundraise.

Shaftesbury said it will use the money to reduce its borrowings and to give it more liquidity.

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