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Retail investors lukewarm on Flight Centre, leave 4 million shares on table

Business

Flight Centre’s retail investors have left more than 4 million of the company’s shares on the table but it has hit its $700 million target.

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The company declared the capital raising to help it through the travel shutdown as a success.

It managed to raise $138 million through the retail offer of one new share for every 1.74 at $7.20 a share, well below its current trading level around $10.

“Together with the institutional placement and institutional component of the entitlement offer, the total amount raised under the offer is approximately $700 million,” the company said.

“The retail entitlement offer saw strong support.

“A total of 13,116 applications for retail entitlements were received, for approximately $92million, representing a take-up rate of approximately 67 per cent.

“In addition, applications totalling approximately $14 million, or approximately 2 million shares, were accepted under the oversubscription facility, increasing the total take-up from eligible shareholders to approximately $106 million, representing a total take up of approximately 77 per cent.”

The 4.4 million shares that were not taken up by retail investors will be allotted to sub-underwriters.

Approximately 19 million new shares to be issued under the Retail Entitlement Offer are expected to be allotted on Friday, May 8 and will trade on the ASX on a normal settlement basis on Monday, May, 11.

Flight Centre global managing director Graham “Skroo” Turner said the company was pleased with the support it had received from our retail shareholders.

“In addition to proceeds raised under the placement and the institutional entitlement offer, proceeds raised under the retail entitlement offer will be used to strengthen Flight Centre’s balance sheet and liquidity position, ensuring Flight Centre can trade through this period of dislocation and uncertainty across the travel sector.”

The capital raising coincided with a strong backlash from customers who complained about Flight Centre’s refund policy, which the company was forced to scrap after intervention from the ACCC.

The company also said it was making progress on its cost reductions and financial targets that it announced to the market on April 6.

It said it was making significant progress in reducing its global cost base towards the $65 million a month target by the end of July 2020 and now expects that the cost reductions will be implemented with less than the $210 million in one-off costs that it originally anticipated.

“There has been some ongoing activity in most countries and we are seeing a slight uptick in bookings in countries like China as travel and trading restrictions ease,” Turner said.

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