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Beston funds on the vine

BESTON Wine Industry Trust, which in October last year announced the purchase of Sirens Vineyard in the Margaret River region for $1.87 million, is going to the market with a new $21 million capital raising.

The offer is for up to 18 million 89-cent units with a right to accept oversubscription for a further 5.7 million units. The funds will be used to finance the acquisition and development of premium vineyards in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. The offer, which opened on Tuesday, closes on March 14 with priority entitlements for existing unitholders expiring on February 28. The capital raising is leveraged to acquire an additional $19.92 million of debt funding.

The Sirens property has 27.8 hectares of a total of 70ha under vine, planted in the Margaret River region’s premium varietals, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc. It has been leased to Southcorp Ltd for 10 years with the right to renew for a further five plus five years.

The trust first listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1999 and has almost 1,200ha under vine and close to $100 million in assets under management. It produced a return of 10.5 per cent for investors last year.

Challenger Beston Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Challenger International Group is the responsible entity of the trust. Challenger International has more than $11.9 billion in assets under management and administration.

Beston Wine Industry Trust managing director Christopher Atkins said that through Breston’s property trust-style structure, investors derived income from a long-term rental stream, rather than being linked to short-term grape sales, providing protection from the fluctuations in grape prices.

Ramelius persists

IT will be a case of third time lucky for yet another gold float hopeful Ramelius Resources Limited, which issued a supplementary prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in January following the issue of a replacement prospectus on November 13. Ramelius Resources has reduced the minimum amount it is seeking to raise by the new closing day on February 28 to $3.2 million from $4.5 million. However, it hopes to raise up to $6 million through the issue of 30 million, 20 cent shares.

“The offer had originally been due to close December 11 but this second extension simply reflects the additional time needed to allow for the Christmas-New Year holiday period,” Ramelius chairman Robert Kennedy said.

“The offer structure, however, retains the company’s core exploration assets in the Coolgardie region of WA’s eastern goldfields belt.”

Shareholders in listed oil and gas producer and explorer Beach Petroleum Limited have priority entitlements as Beach is injecting its gold assets into the gold portfolio assembled by Ramelius.

Risk-averse offering

RISK-AVERSE investors might be broadening their investment horizons with the equities market performing less then spectacularly.

Elderslie Finance Corporation Limited has issued two prospectuses on the market for debentures and unsecured deposit notes offering interest returns on investment.

The unsecured deposit notes prospectus is seeking to raise up to $50 million with the proceeds to provide funds for secured general lending, leasing products, further expansion of the business of Elderslie and repayment of debentures.

The second prospectus is for the issue of secured debentures up to the value of $45 million. Around 28 per cent of Elderslie’s current investors are WA-based. Elderslie raises funds with an average maturity of less than two years.

If both investment classes are fully subscribed the total assets of Elderslie would be $280.8 million and the total liabilities would be $247.7 million. Applications are accepted in multiples of $100 with a minimum application of $1,000 and, in the case of monthly interest payments, a minimum application of $10,000.

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