Three listed property trusts yesterday announced plans to tap financial markets for a minimum of A$380m.

The A$6bn Colonial First State Retail Property Trust became the first listed non-bank entity to test the commercial bond market with an issue to raise at least A$100m.

Also yesterday, the Melbourne-based Orchard Industry Fund revealed it had taken a new strategic partner, South Africa's Growthpoint Properties, which has committed to invest $144 million in a rights issue and $56 million in a placement at 16c per security. The proposal is subject to unitholder approval.

Orchard chairman Lyn Shaddock said if the proposal was approved, the capital raised would be used to reduce debt and create "significant debt covenant headroom".

Meanwhile, Perth-based Aspen Property Group went into trading halt yesterday for a capital raising. Industry sources said Aspen was seeking to raise about $80 million to retire debt in a nine-for-11 rights issue.

The Australian