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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide stays silent on speculation over £100m rights issue

Countrywide has not made any official statement about speculation over the weekend that it was about to seek an additional £100m investment.

Estate Agent Today reported over the weekend that the Sunday Telegraph stated the company was planning a rights issue to raise money to pay off debt. 

EAT asked the company yesterday morning for a comment, but up to now it has not received a response.

Countrywide’s executive chairman Peter Long - one of three senior executives effectively running the company in the absence of a chief executive - last week resigned from the board of a global theme park firm to focus on saving the troubled estate agency.

Countrywide’s next scheduled trading statement to shareholders and the City will be on Thursday, when the next phase of Long’s Back To Basics regime is revealed - this was the policy introduced in January after the resignation of former chief executive Alison Platt.

The Telegraph says of this week’s anticipated appeal for investment: “The funds will be used to bankroll an attempt to revive Countrywide and cut its debt burden of about £200m by at least half. Bankers were this weekend finalising the details to go to the market as soon as Thursday, although sources cautioned that the timetable could change.

“The decision to seek a lifeline from shareholders comes after plans to raise a bond to replace a revolving credit facility with its current lenders proved unsuccessful, sources have said.

“[Investment bank] Jefferies have been appointed to oversee the fundraising, while the investment bank Rothschild will handle a  potential restructuring if the cash call falls flat. Countrywide’s largest investor Oaktree Capital, which owns just over 30pc of the business, is understood to be supportive of the fundraising.”

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