Mothercare has raised £100m that it will invest in its digital transformation and a business overhaul after underwriters found subscribers for the rump of its rights issue.
Underwriters Numis, JP Morgan Cazenove and HSBC have found subscribers for the rump of the rights issue, which represents 5.4% of the new shares, after Mothercare initially raised £95m from shareholders.
Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “The board and I are delighted with the support we have received from our shareholders for our new strategy to transform the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands.
“The successful completion of our rights issue creates a strong financial position that now allows us to modernise our business and fulfil our ambition to be the leading global retailer for parents and young children.”
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Mike Dennis is cautious about Mothercare’s prospects because “previous capital investment of £151m net of landlord contributions in the last eight years has not produced any real returns”.
The money raised through the rights issue will be invested in a more modern store estate, improving IT systems and creating a more efficient operational infrastructure.
Cash will also be used to repay a “significant amount” of Mothercare’s outstanding debt and provide it with a stronger capital base to carry out its strategic plan.
Money will also be used to accelerate its store closure programme and refurbish and relocate other stores.
Mothercare has identified around 50 to 75 loss-making stores that it intends to close by financial year 2016/17.
The majority of these stores, including standalone Early Learning Centre stores, will close this financial year, which ends on March 29, 2015.
Further closures are being offset by the opening of 15 to 20 stores or stores being relocated to larger, better located premises.
The retailer, which had 220 UK stores as of March 29, intends to have a core estate of around 110 profitable out-of-town stores and 50 profitable in-town locations.