Australian shopping centre giant Westfield is planning to raise A$2bn (£856m) of equity through a dividend reinvestment plan.

During the company’s presentation of its third quarter results today, managing director Peter Lowy said the programme – whereby shareholders buy new shares instead of receiving cash – would ‘further strengthen the group’s financial position’.

Lowy said money raised would be in addition to the group’s current available spending power of A$5.5bn (£2.35bn) made from cash and undrawn facilities.

He said: ‘We believe that securing this additional equity by the dividend reinvestment plan is both prudent and efficient.’ He said the money could be used to finance ‘future opportunities’ afforded by falling property values across the world.

He said: ‘In this environment assets and companies that were previously unavailable at appropriate returns may present future opportunities.’