Ashtenne completes four-year refinancing deal

Aviva Investors and Warner Estate have raised £45m of new equity to reduce debt in the jointly-managed Ashtenne Industrial Fund, which owns multi-let estates in the North West.

The pair said they had also refinanced £364m of existing debt with lenders Royal Bank of Scotland and the Lloyds Banking Group for a further four years.

The new equity, issued in the form of convertible loan stock which will convert to units in the fund in September 2012, was all raised from existing investors.

Ashtenne has a portfolio of industrial estates valued at £627m portfolio comprising 330 properties, let to 3,112 tenants, with an annual rent roll of £56m.

The fund has offices in Chorley and Liverpool and is best known locally for its joint venture with the North West Development Agency, Space Northwest.

Ashtenne is currently progressing with a disposal programme and has completed £52.3m of sales in 29 separate transactions during 2009, at a discount of 3.7% to their collective value in December 2008.

John Heawood, managing director of Ashtenne Asset Management, the division of Warner Estate responsible for the asset management of AIF, commented: "Our unique structure of regional management teams has been hugely effective at retaining income, minimising void and continuing to make sales during the downturn."

AIF were advised by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Berwin Leighton Paisner on the equity raise and the refinancing, which completed on Friday 2 October.

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