Kier Group has announced that it proposes to raise gross proceeds of approximately £264m by way of a rights issue
The contractor confirmed the move in a Stock Exchange announcement today (30 November) which saw its share price fall 15%.
Kier’s Board believes that the risks associated with the group’s net debt position have recently increased for the following reasons:
- Although the majority of the Group’s banking facilities are committed until 2022, a number of lenders have indicated an intention to reduce their exposure to the construction and related sectors, which may affect the confidence of other credit providers and liquidity in the medium term and may also have an impact on access to uncommitted facilities and/or future financings;
- Potential clients and customers are increasingly focusing on service providers’ balance sheets, resulting in procurement processes becoming increasingly rigorous and automated; and
- The increasing pressure from stakeholders to shorten supply chain payment terms.
The Rights Issue is expected to mitigate these risks, whilst also allowing Kier to accelerate its debt reduction programme and increase the strength of its balance sheet.
The directors believe that it is important that the net proceeds of the Rights Issue are reported on the group’s balance sheet on 31 December 2018, in order to enable the group to be better positioned to win new business.
The group’s net debt was reported as at approximately £624m on 31 October 2018.
The net proceeds of the Rights Issue of approximately £250m will enable the group to accelerate its net debt reduction programme announced on 20 September 2018, allowing it to forecast a net cash position as at 30 June 2019.
Haydn Mursell, Chief Executive of Kier Group plc, said: “There has been a recent change in sentiment from the credit markets towards the UK construction sector, with various lenders indicating that they will be reducing their exposure to the sector. This has led to lower confidence among other stakeholders and an increased focus on balance sheet strength.
“The Rights Issue is intended to address these issues, better position Kier to continue to win new business and further strengthen our market leading positions.”