Assura releases share issue plans

Warrington-based Assura has announced plans to raise £175m through a share issue to fund development and acquisitions of new primary healthcare properties.

The company has a "near term pipeline" of projects costed at £95m, and has agreed non-binding heads of terms to acquire a portfolio of 11 purpose-built medical centres for £62m, in a mix of equity and debt.

Commercial terms have been agreed on 13 further individual asset acquisitions for £18m in total. There are seven developments with an estimated future expenditure of approximately £15m, five of which are already on-site. Assura also wants to reduce net borrowings by £55m by repaying debt. This will reduce the total debt to £482m and result in a decrease in the overall loan to value ratio from 65% to 52%.

Graham Roberts, chief executive officer, said: "An ageing population, increasing expectations and rising long-term health conditions are intensifying demands on the NHS. GPs will need to play an ever increasing role in meeting future healthcare needs, but many currently operate in unsuitable and outdated space.
"Assura, through its expertise, leading position and internally managed structure, is well placed to provide this required space. Today's share issue allows us to build on this leading position, enhancing our strong portfolio and balance sheet and positioning us well for the future."

Shares in Assura fell slightly to 45p. An increased quarterly dividend by 11% to 0.5p from January 2015 was recommended.

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