GLOBAL - Westbrook Partners has injected £35m (€41.2m) in capital from its latest global opportunity fund into UK listed real estate company O Twelve Estates.
The $2.25bn Westbrook Real Estate Fund VIII, which includes capital commitments from the Ohio Police and Fire pension fund, Teachers Retirement System of Texas and Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System, acquired 357,700,000 new shares issued by O Twelve Estates for 10.5 pence each.
As part of the deal, Westbrook will be able to appoint up to two directors to the board of O Twelve Estates.
The property company, which owns 23 real estate assets in the so-called Thames Gateway area of East London and neighbouring counties, will use the capital to pay down debt and make new acquisitions.
The Thames Gateway has a significant amount of brownfield land and is seeing widespread redevelopment ahead of the London Olympic Games in 2012.
O Twelve Estates listed on the AIM stock exchange in March 2006, raising £117m, at the height of the market in the UK.
The company made its first acquisition in April 2006 and went on to make a total of 23 property investments at an aggregate purchase price of £270m.
Nationwide provided O Twelve Estates with a £150m debt facility on December 2006 to make the acquisitions. This was increased to £250m in June 2007, although only £170m was drawn in the end.
The falling property values in the latter months of 2008 led to the Group breaching the loan to value covenant, and the terms of the loan were restructured in October 2009.
Two investment properties have since been sold for a combined £31.4m and O Twelve Estates has repaid £25.3m of the outstanding £170m loan.
"The board, together with the property adviser, has given considerable thought as to how best to structure the proposed fundraising in order to strengthen the balance sheet and position the company for growth," said Phillip Rhodes, chairman at O Twelve Estates.
"The board has concluded that the placing and open offer, with the support of Westbrook, is the most attractive option for the group and its shareholders providing a timely solution which will provide the guaranteed receipt of the necessary funds to pay down a portion of the company's debt while also creating a strong platform which will enable the company to take full advantage of the current opportunities we see in the market."