(Corrects headline to show amount raised is $745 mln, not $703 mln)
LONDON, March 12 Landlord British Land said it intends to raise 500 million pounds ($745.02 million) from shareholders to fund new investment opportunities and sold off an office block in London's City financial district for 472 million pounds ($703 million).
The company said on Tuesday it plans to place 89.7 million new ordinary shares, representing 9.99 percent of British Land's existing issue share capital. Of the 500 million pounds raised, it will use 213 million to fund recent acquisitions and another 150 million pounds for deals in advanced negotiations.
British Land said its desire to raise cash was driven by a "clear acceleration in the flow of opportunities" that it had seen in its key office and retail sectors in recent months.
"Many of these opportunities are being driven by structural changes, as institutions reconfigure their property holdings and smaller competitors look to exit the UK market," it said in the statement.
"In addition, the company believes that vendors are showing an increasing realism around values, with access to finance continuing to constrain many buyers."
The company said it expects the investments to enhance future growth in earnings and returns, and to be earnings accretive on an annualised basis within 12 months once the capital had been deployed.
British Land's announcement comes after rival mall owner Intu Properties launched plans to raise cash from shareholders to fund a 250.5 million pound deal to buy the Midsummer Place shopping centre in Milton Keynes, south England.
Property investors in Europe are casting an eye on riskier assets and are keen to spend after years of cautiousness as concerns over the euro zone ebb, property consultant CBRE said last week.
British Land also said it would receive 461 million pounds after costs from the sale of Ropemaker Place, a 593,000 square foot office block whose tenants include the Bank of Toyko-Mitsubishi UFJ, to a consortium represented by AXA Real Estate. It intends to invest the sale proceeds into its London development programme.
($1 = 0.6711 British pounds) (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Rhys Jones and Alison Birrane)