**British Land Announces Share Placing Plan and Ropemaker Place Sale**
London-based British Land (LON:BLND) said on March 12 that it plans to raise £500 million from shareholders to fund “attractive investment opportunities” and has sold off a major asset in London for £472 million.
The UK’s second-largest property company said in a statement it intends to place 89.7 million new ordinary shares, representing 9.99 percent of its existing share capital. Of the £500 million to be raised, £213 million will go towards recent acquisitions and a further £150 million will fund property investment deals in advanced stage of negotiations.
The remainder of the proceeds of the share placing will be invested in British Land’s growing pipeline of identified acquisition opportunities in its core real estate markets in London and the South East.
British Land also said it would bank £461 million after £11 million of costs from the agreed sale of Ropemaker Place, a 593,000 square foot office block in the City of London financial district. The building was bought by a group of French and Far Eastern investors represented by AXA Real Estate Investment Managers. The offices are fully occupied with an average lease of 14 years. Tenants include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Liberum Capital Ltd. and Macquarie Group Ltd. According to the British Land’s announcement, the sale of Ropemaker Place completes an active year of asset recycling, the proceeds of which will be reinvested into its London-focused development programme.
**Attractive Property Investment Opportunities**
As stated by British Land, the announced moves come as the FTSE 100 company plans to take advantage of a “clear acceleration in the flow of opportunities” witnessed in recent months. Many of these property investment opportunities are driven by structural changes as institutions reconfigure their property holdings and some smaller competitors withdraw from Britain’s real estate market. “In addition, the Company believes that vendors are showing an increasing realism around values, with access to finance continuing to constrain many buyers,” the statement read.
British Land also said it expects the property investment programme to enhance future growth in earnings and returns, and to be earnings accretive on an annualised basis within 12 months once the raised capital had been deployed.
!m[Property Company Sells Ropemaker Place for £472m](/uploads/story/1613/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)
**Share Price Drops**
The British Land share price, which has added 13 percent over the past 12 months, lost as much as 4.05 percent on March 12, its biggest intraday drop since March 28, 2012. As of 10:58 GMT, the share price was 557 pence, compared with the closing price of 580.5 pence on March 11.