British Land raises £210m

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The Independent Online
British Land is raising £210.7m through a placing and open offer to fund the acquisition of Stanhope, owner of half the prestigious Broadgate office development in the City of London.

The recommended offer, announced in January after John Ritblat, British Land's chairman, had stalked Stanhope for almost a year, involves the acquisition of Stanhope's equity for £3m and its £149m debts for 82.5p in the pound.

John Weston Smith, British Land's finance director, said the fact that the company was raising more than the £125m it needed for the Stanhope purchase did not mean it was any closer to buying the other half of Broadgate from the receivers. It has always been British Land's stated aim, however, to acquire control of the whole site, which is widely seen as Britain's premier office complex.

The placing, pitched at 352p a share, a small discount to British Land's closing share price on Wednesday of 368p, will reduce the company's gearing to less than 80 per cent on the basis of historic asset values.Mr Weston Smith said he was confident that the value of British Land's portfolio of properties had risen during the past financial year.

, which ends at the end of this month. {

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He added that rents had continued to rise during the second half of the year and said the full-year dividend should rise by a similar amount to the 7.75 per cent increase announced at the interim stage.

Rosehaugh's receiver, KPMG, has maintained throughout the complex {

Derek ThomasP5>%-pounds pounds /negotiations over the future of Stanhope that the 50 per cent stake in Broadgate it controls pounds {*

Derek ThomasP5>%-pounds pounds /'is not for sale at anything other than will only be sold at a full price.pounds {"

Derek ThomasP5>%-pounds pounds "pounds In welcoming British Land's acquisition he made it clear that he intended to wring full value for Rosehaugh's creditors from forecast increases in the value of Broadgate.

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