Liberty International is to raise more than £350m from shareholders and asset sales as part of a deal with lenders to renegotiate the terms of its debt facilities.
The company, which is to cut its dividend and freeze bonuses in a strategy to conserve cash, yesterday wiped more than £2bn off the value of its properties as a result of the freefall in prices last year.
Liberty said the value of its portfolio, which includes shopping centres such as Lakeside as well as London’s Covent Garden, dropped 22.5 per cent in the full year, with net asset value per share down 41 per cent to 745p. However, the company outperformed its benchmark index.
Liberty has agreed to extend a £360m debt facility to 2011 if it raises the new equity. Liberty confirmed it would raise more than this sum through a combination of asset sales and new capital from investors, although declined to say how much or when.
Liberty International’s final dividend was scrapped, restricting the full-year payout to 16.5p. The dividend for 2009 will be maintained at this level.
Financial Times, The Times