Austrian property group S Immo takes 149 mln euro capital increase

VIENNA, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Austrian property group S Immo said it collected 149 million euros ($166 million) in fresh funds via an overnight capital increase, which it intends to spend for further growth.

The group placed 6,691,717 new shares at 22.25 euros a share, equivalent to a 10% increase of existing share capital, it said in a statement on Thursday.

S Immo did not reveal the names of the buyers but had said on Wednesday that one of its reference shareholders had indicated interest for more than half of the envisaged transaction size, triggering new consolidation speculation.

Rival Immofinanz has held 29% in S Immo since September 2018. The two companies abandoned merger plans in November, blaming “the inability to reach an agreement over a possible (share) exchange ratio”.

Austrian investors Ronny Pecik and Norbert Ketterer reported a 10% stake in S Immo in November, while Erste Group’s asset management arm reported a 4% stake in December.

Analysts have long said a consolidation among Austria’s three remaining listed property groups would make sense, as it would increase sales power and financial strength.

In 2016, a planned merger of CA Immo, the third listed group, and Immofinanz failed due to resistance from an activist investor.

$1 = 0.8971 euros Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne