Big Yellow announces big fund raising plans

Self-storage group Big Yellow said it would create up to 10m new shares in a bid to pay down debts, increase dividends and expand its sites.

Self-storage group Big Yellow said it would create up to 10m new shares in a bid to pay down debts, increase dividends and expand its sites.

The new shares will make up 7.5% of the company's total issued share capital and will be offered to existing shareholders and new institutional investors.

The firm said the proceeds would be used to reduce debt and accelerate the group's aim of achieving four times interest cover at the pre-interest cash flow level.

This, in turn, would enable the company to rebase its dividend policy.

The intention is to move to an increased payout of 80% of adjusted earnings per share beginning with the year ending March 13th 2014, it said.

A proportion of this will be payable at the interim stage.

Big Yellow would also then be in the position to begin a phased development of three existing sites with planning consent that it has previously acquired, at a cost of around £14.3m.

Nicholas Vetch, the firm's Executive Chairman, said: "We hold the view that, on a long term basis, lower leveraged businesses produce higher returns to shareholders, whilst enjoying less volatility."

"This equity raise allows the board to accelerate its stated strategy of deleveraging whilst giving the company some flexibility to expand its portfolio of stores and consolidate its brand dominance in London and the South East," he said.

Members of the board, including Nicholas Vetch, James Gibson, Richard Cotton and Mark Richardson, intend to invest in aggregate up to £320,000 in the placing, the group added.

The timing of the closing of the book, pricing and allocations is at the discretion of J.P. Morgan Cazenove, which is acting as sole bookrunner for the placing.

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