Pounds 150m property comeback planned: London Capital Holdings rises from ashes of Randsworth Trust for float on stock market in May

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The Independent Online
ONE of the most spectacular corporate collapses of the 1980s property boom is returning to the stock market in a flotation scheduled for May.

The launch of London Capital Holdings provides an opportunity to invest in the West End office and commercial property portfolio of the former Randsworth Trust, now wholly owned by Citibank, the US bank.

Randsworth, which joined the stock market in 1986 and expanded rapidly through acquisitions of portfolios and quoted companies, was bought by a consortium of US and Dutch investors in 1989 before going into receivership in 1992.

Citibank, which was the main lender to the pounds 258m acquisition vehicle, headed by JMB Realty of Chicago, intends to keep between 25 and 35 per cent of the company.

Following the flotation, London Capital will have gearing of about 60 per cent and net assets of pounds 140m.

Nigel Kempner, managing director, would not say how much the company would be valued at. But other quoted property companies are trading at premiums to net assets of between 10 and 20 per cent.

Capital Shopping Centres, the owner of the Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, is being floated at a 13 per cent premium to its underlying net worth.

The portfolio, which includes 415,000 sq ft of offices and 340,000 sq ft of retail space in 57 buildings in Mayfair, St James and Knightsbridge, was valued by Hillier Parker at pounds 227.6m.

The disposal of Randsworth Trust in 1989 marked the high point of the commercial property boom, coming during a week of frenetic corporate activity.

Within four days, Imry Merchant Developers changed hands for pounds 276m, Arlington Securities was snapped up by British Aerospace for pounds 278m and Clayform, a developer, acquired Stead & Simpson, the shoe retailer, for pounds 124.5m.

Like Randsworth, Imry subsequently went under, landing Barclays Bank with its biggest write-off. British Aerospace still owns Arlington and is rumoured to be considering a reflotation.

Clayform sold Stead & Simpson last year and relaunched itself as Development Securities - with a cash injection from Martin Landau, the former head of Imry, who had netted pounds 25m from the sale.

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