City analysts have labelled the subdued take-up of Debenhams’ shares as part of its £323m fundraising a “disappointment” but said the department store group is nevertheless stronger as a result.
Only 30.3 per cent of the total shares offered as part of an open offer were taken up by investors this week.
Debenhams had acceptances of 73.4 million of the total 242.4 million shares offered. The remaining 169 million shares have been allocated to shareholders who took part in a simultaneous share placing.
Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman said when launching the fundraising early this month that the pricing of the new shares at 80p – a 13.3 per cent discount to the closing price the day before – indicated a vote of confidence in the move.
Credit Suisse analyst Tony Shiret said the subsequent response was “lukewarm” but that the management had “done a good job” in securing the funds.
Seymour Pierce analyst Freddie George observed: “It looks as if it has been a disappointment. It was ramped up ahead of the pricing.”
KBC Peel Hunt analyst John Stevenson said that it was “job done”. “There aren’t many retailers that are taking market share rather than fighting fires,” he said.
The take-up was complicated by the shareholder structure of Debenhams, which includes management, the now defunct Baugur and private equity backers TPG and CVC, who were not taking part in the fundraising.