Green REIT to raise 400 mln euros to fund further deals

DUBLIN, April 4 Fri Apr 4, 2014 12:17pm EDT

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DUBLIN, April 4 (Reuters) - Irish real estate investment trust Green REIT plans to raise 400 million euros ($549 million) in a placing and open offer of shares to fund more property deals after using all the proceeds from its initial public offering in July last year.

Irish commercial property prices have steadied after falls of around 65 percent when a real estate bubble burst, leading to a surge in demand from investors abroad and new publicly listed companies at home for hotels, office blocks and retail units.

Green REIT, which raised 310 million euros from listing its shares last July, said on Friday it would issue the new stock at 1.12 euros per share, a 5.5 percent discount on Thursday's closing price and a 12 percent premium to the IPO issue price.

"We have made rapid progress since we established Green REIT," chairman Stephen Vernon said in a statement. "We believe we are well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities presented by current and expected market conditions."

Green REIT has so far spent 335 million of equity and debt on mainly Dublin-based commercial property as assets either taken over by the state during the crisis or being deleveraged by foreign lenders burned by a property crash came on the block.

It became the country's first real estate investment trust (REIT) following legislative changes aimed at stoking the market and has been followed by Hibernia REIT, while a third, Irish Residential Properties REIT (IRPR), announced its plans to float on Friday.

Ireland's state-run "bad bank" also sold its portfolio of loans belonging to Northern Ireland-based debtors on Friday in its largest deal to date, cashing in on the increased international demand for distressed Irish assets.

($1 = 0.7291 Euros) (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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