Private shareholders welcome Chelsfield

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The Independent Online
PRIVATE shareholders gave Elliott Bernerd a warm welcome back to the stock market yesterday. The intermediaries offer of shares in his property company, Chelsfield, was oversubscribed nearly five times.

As a result, applications for the 155p a share offer, part of a pounds 105m cash-raising exercise, will be scaled back. For every 1,000 shares applied for, new investors will receive only 205.

Institutions are understood to have wanted even more, with a pounds 25m institutional share placing about 10 times oversubscribed. Dealings in the shares begin next Tuesday. The placing price values the company at pounds 243m.

The high level of interest from investors confirms the resurgence of enthusiasm for the property market, which has seen share prices in the sector more than double over the past 15 months. Further issues, valued at up to pounds 1bn, are expected in the new year.

The flotation of Chelsfield marks the return to the stock market of one of the property industry's most successful operators. His previous quoted companies were Town & City Properties and Stockley Park, which developed the business park near Heathrow.

The company's plans include two office developments in London's West End and an extension to the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley, in which Chelsfield has a 25 per cent stake.

Planning consent has also been agreed for the Babelsberg studios in Potsdam near Berlin, bought with Compagnie Generale des Eaux from the Treuhandanstalt, the government agency set up to sell former East Germany's state-owned assets.

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