WHSmith manages to raise £166m to beat coronavirus crisis

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WHSmith manages to raise £166m to beat coronavirus crisis
WHSmith said the equity raise would help strengthen its balance sheet, working capital and liquidity position amid the uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic.
// WHSmith raises approximately £165.9m through a share placing
// Investors subscribed to 15.8 million new shares at 1050p per share
// WHSmith CEO Carl Cowling subscribed to more than 7000 of those shares

WHSmith has raised almost £166 million through a share placing in a bid to shore up its balance sheet to help it overcome the financial impacts of the coronavirus lockdown.

The books and stationery retailer placed 15.8 million new shares at 1050p per share, and investors have subscribed to the shares, raising approximately £165.9 million.

The share price represented a four per cent discount on yesterday’s closing price.


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WHSmith chief executive Carl Cowling is among the investors, subscribing to more than 7000 shares.

The new shares will be admitted to the stock exchange on April 9.

WHSmith said the equity raise would help strengthen its balance sheet, working capital and liquidity position amid the uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic.

The news comes as WHSmith’s share price dropped 58 per cent in the last six weeks, cutting its value to £1.2 billion.

Listed companies can raise up to 19.9 per cent of their capital without requiring shareholder consent.

WHSmith also revealed it secured new financing arrangements with its lenders.

This includes a new £120 million banking facility from BNP Paribas, HSBC and Santander.

The retailer sought a cash injection after its stores were hard hit by lockdowns, especially its profitable lucrative travel retail division.

While the vast majority of its store estate has temporarily closed, only the 203 WHSmith stores that contain Post Offices remaining open for business during the lockdown, along with 140 stores inside UK hospitals.

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