EPP raises R1.45bn for expansion in Poland

JSE and Luxembourg Stock Exchange-listed EPP has raised R1.45bn in capital through share sales so that it can buy a portfolio of shopping centres in Poland, and cement its position as the largest retail landlord in eastern Europe’s largest economy.

The company had initially set out to raise €75m (R1.2bn) worth of equity but interest was strong, CEO Hadley Dean said.

Dean said the equity raise was undertaken “in part to facilitate the introduction of a significant new equity investor that has committed to investing, through its participation in the bookbuild”.

The R1.45bn was raised through the placing of 77,956,989 new shares at a price of R18.60 per share on EPP’s South African share register. The funds would be used to fund its existing developments.

Subject to approval by the JSE and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, listing and trading of the new EPP shares were expected to begin at the opening of trade on May 3. Following the issue of the new EPP stock, the company would have a total of 907,946,792 shares in issue.

Dean said EPP was on track to own 1-million square metres of retail by 2020, following the opening of the two new shopping centres in the country’s capital, Warsaw.

It also wants to sell its office portfolio, which includes six buildings worth nearly R5bn. It had a buyer in late 2018 for the portfolio but the suitor had financing problems. Dean has said EPP has since received interest from other suitors.

Vukile Property Fund, another JSE-listed property owner with investments in the UK and Spain, also issued new stock in recent weeks. In early April, Vukile raised R700m to fund investments in Spain.