Wentworth completes $20m placement

Subiaco-based property asset manager Wentworth Mutual Ltd has raised $20 million capital, mainly to reduce borrowings against conditionally secured property purchases that are yet to settle.
Around $12 million of this funding had been allocated to rent roll and property management acquisitions, reflecting Wentworth's position as one of the biggest residential property managers in the country with around 3000 properties on its rent roll.
The acquisition of "ancillary" businesses in fields such as travel and insurance is a strategy being considered by the company.
Wentworth announced a self imposed trading halt late last week ahead of today's announcement.
The group has been in a position to announce some good news lately, last week revising its earnings projections to a $800,000 profit, from a previously stated break even point.
The forecast profit follows a long series of losses.
In January, the company has also stated it planned to move its headquarters to Melbourne where it was shifting its focus.
At the same time, it announced that then managing director Glenn Wheeler, a former high flyer from the 1980s whose name was linked to the collapse of Permanent Building Society a decade ago, would step down from an executive role with the business after quietly building it up over the past few years.
Today, the company said due to a high level of interest from institutional and 'sophisticated' investors via Bell Potter Securities, a $20 million cap had been put in place, $5 million above its original target.
"Most of the money will be spent on rent rolls and management type businesses," Wentworth spokesman Mark Silveria told WA Business News said.
Mr Silvera said the company would possibly be looking at acquiring ancillary businesses such as small travel businesses and insurance type businesses in the future.
In a statement to the market, Wentworth executive director Kingsley Lamont said the group had been confident of support.
"What we did not expect was the heavy oversubscription to the placement," Mr Lamont said.
The new issue of 800 million shares will increase Wentworth's issued shares to 2.7 billion approximately.
Accodring to its website, Wentworth offers $250 worth of shares and options to obtain shares worth $500 to clients who place their property under the management of the company. It also offers options to obtain shares worth $150 to those who make referrals, as well as a $150 cash payment.
Today, Wentworth has also advised that it has secured further conditional acquisitions of $12 million due for settlement on or before 31st May 2006.


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