British Land has tapped shareholders for £740m in a fully underwritten rights issue as the company secures its balance sheet from further falls in property asset values.

The company announced the issue alongside a £1.64bn write-down in the third quarter following a 13 per cent reduction in its property portfolio valuation.

'We’re doing it [the rights issue] for two reasons,' Chris Grigg, chief executive, said yesterday. 'One is to ensure that we’re in a very strong balance sheet position. The second is so that over time we can take advantage of [future buying] opportunities as we see them.'

The rights issue will create two new shares at 225p for every three shares, a 53% discount to Wednesday’s closing price. It is fully underwritten by Morgan Stanley, UBS and Euro Lights Private, an affiliate of GIC Real Estate, the Singapore government’s property investment arm.

Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent