St Laurence pulls listing plan

Property investor St Laurence Property & Finance (SLPF) has pulled a plan to register a prospectus on NZX and will instead register one on the less rigorously controlled unlisted market.

Thursday, March 6th 2008, 5:23AM
Last month SLPF announced it would raise up to $24.4 million through a rights issue to fund development activities and repay maturing debenture stock.

Shareholder St Laurence Ltd had agreed to take up its entitlement under the offer of about 9 million new notes worth around $6.75m.

SLPF said it wanted to register a prospectus before its balance date of March 31, but NZX requirements that the prospectus include prospective financial information meant the accounts would have to be audited.

"If we went down that track, then we would miss our March 31 cut-off date," executive chairman Kevin Podmore said.

SLPF has two tranches of secured bonds quoted on the NZX debt security market.

The new offer is planned to open on March 31 and close on April 11. Entitlements have yet to be decided. The prospectus is expected to be registered on March 14.

Under the withdrawn plan, SPLF said new notes would be issued at 75c, and would have a fixed coupon of 9% on their principal amount of $1 each for the eight month period from issue until conversion.

The new notes would convert into SLPF fully paid ordinary shares in December at a rate of one fully paid ordinary share for every new note held.

St Laurence planned to use some of the money for three development projects -- an industrial design and build for Data Express in Auckland, a redevelopment of the old Deloitte House in Wellington and the upgrade of St Laurence House.

Podmore said the projects were tenant-driven and the current tough environment would not affect them.

Shares in SLPF major shareholder, Dorchester Pacific, fell nearly 13% today. Dorchester owns 25% of St Laurence Ltd, which owns 29% of SLPF. Last week Dorchester issued a profit warning.

Podmore said SLPF had not raised money from the debenture market for around three years. It raises money from equity, the bond issues and bank debt.

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