Argent to seek listing in summer

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The Independent Online
Argent Group, the private property investment and development company headed by the Freeman brothers, Michael and Peter, will seek a listing on the Stock Exchange early this summer, writes John Moore.

The flotation, according to J Henry Schroder Wagg, the group's advisers, is likely to be by way of a placing of shares and a public offering.

Allowing for new money to be raised in the flotation, Argent is likely to be capitalised significantly above pounds 150m. The gross value of its properties in March this year is about pounds 230m with a pro forma consolidated net worth of about pounds 115m.

According to Schroders, Argent survived and expanded in the early 1990s when many property companies went under.

'The Argent Group started to reduce its development exposure in 1989 before the market crashed. Then, when the market was depressed in 1991-93, it took advantage of the opportunity to purchase prime UK investment properties at historically high yields in a joint venture with one of its shareholders, the American venture banking firm, Warburg, Pincus,' says Schroders.