Uni-Invest drops listing plan

Uni-Invest, a Dutch real estate company, on Tuesday scrapped its listing plan because of unfavourable market conditions.

European property stocks have been spooked in recent months by the expectation of higher interest rates and the anticipation of a correction in house prices after a period of strong growth.

This month Realia, the Spanish company, had to launch its initial public offering at a 30 per cent discount to its original pricing while Vector, the UK’s first hotel-based real estate investment, pulled its £2bn ($4bn) flotation.

Uni-Invest announced that it was abandoning its IPO just hours before it was scheduled to take place on Euronext Amsterdam.

The move could be a significant setback for the company, which was hoping to raise more than €300m ($402m) to fund acquisitions. It was also planning to use the proceeds to pay down its debt in order to qualify as an investment-vehicle eligible for a corporate tax break in the Netherlands.

Uni-Invest on Tuesday insisted its day-to-day strategy would be unaffected.

Jack Bakker, Uni-Invest chief executive, said: “Uni-Invest and its shareholders have decided not to proceed with the planned IPO as a result of adverse marketconditions.”

Pieter Roozenboom, chief financial officer, told the Financial Times that Uni-Invest had no immediate plan to revive the IPO.

Mr Roozenboom pointed to a 6 per cent decline in the European Public Real Estate Association share index in two weeks.

That and the fact that other property companies had announced cut-backs to their capital raising plans, had made potential Uni-Invest shareholders “extremely cautious”, he said. Uni-Invest had planned to price its offering at €13-€15.50 a share.

The offering would have comprised up to 24m new ordinary shares offered by Uni-Invest and up to 1.9m existing shares offered by five of its current shareholders, being funds affiliated to Lehman Brothers. Lehman and Morgan Stanley were joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners.

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