BPT set to go private as it puts up 'for sale' sign

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The Independent Online

BPT, the largest property company in the private-rented residential market, yesterday followed a number of other companies in the real estate sector by announcing it had put itself up for sale.

BPT, the largest property company in the private-rented residential market, yesterday followed a number of other companies in the real estate sector by announcing it had put itself up for sale.

The company, in business since 1926 and formerly called the Bradford Property Trust, said that the outcome of a two-month strategic review was that it would seek cash offers for the company. The move is likely to see the company taken private.

Schroder Salomon Smith Barney, the investment bank, will now seek buyers. BPT has a net asset value (NAV) of £548.9m or 373p a share. Yesterday, the company's shares closed up 31.5p at 300p, valuing it at £441m. BPT owns and rents out 11,300 flats and houses across the country.

Nigel Denby, BPT's finance director, said the company was not able to get finance to grow from the equity market. It is thought the sale of BPT will follow the pattern of MEPC, the property company bought by two financial institutions earlier this year. BPT's management is expected to remain in place under the new ownership.

The private-rent residential market is fragmented, which means there are big growth opportunities for institutional investors, analysts said. BPT has just 2 per cent of the market.

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