WHSmith has successfully raised more than £165m to shore up its balance sheet amid the current ongoing health crisis.

The retailer said it had placed 15.8 million new shares at 1,050p per share – a 4% discount on yesterday’s closing price. Investors have subscribed to the shares, raising approximately £165.9m.

WHSmith boss Carl Cowling is among the investors and will purchase more than 7,000 shares. They will be admitted to the stock exchange on April 9.

The retailer said the move will “strengthen its balance sheet, working capital and liquidity position during this period of unprecedented uncertainty”.

Last night, WHSmith revealed it had also secured new financing arrangements with its lenders, including a new £120m banking facility from BNP Paribas, HSBC and Santander.

It comes after the retailer admitted it had suffered a “significant impact” from the coronavirus outbreak, following a decline in passenger numbers at airports and railway stations.

The majority of its high street shops have also been closed temporarily, with only the 203 stores that contain Post Offices remaining open for business. Its 140 stores inside UK hospitals also continue to trade.