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Education group G8's backers hit with a $50 million shortfall

Business

Gold Coast education group G8 has raised $300 million from investors but not before its underwriters were slugged with a hefty bill.

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G8 raised $75 million at 80 cents a share, but only about a third of retail shareholders took up the offer.

When it announced the offer it said the COVID-19 outbreak was having a “significant adverse impact” on occupancy levels across the sector, including G8 Education, as parents withheld their children from attending due to health and financial concerns.

By early April, G8’s like-for-like occupancy was tracking 9.7 per cent down versus previous year levels. It anticipated the company was facing six months of COVID-19 issues.

G8 said it received 4198 valid applications for retail entitlements, for about $25 million, which represented a take-up rate by eligible retail shareholders of approximately 33 per cent.

That will leave about 63 million new shares not taken up under the retail entitlement offer which will now be allocated to the sub‐underwriters.

However, its institutional offer was strongly supported, where the take-up rate was 99.7 per cent.

The shortfall follows similar issues at Flight Centre which raised $700 million but retail investors left about 4.4 million worth about $31 million for the underwriters.

The approximately 94 million new shares to be issued were expected to be allotted on Friday, May 8, and commence trading on the ASX on a normal settlement basis from May 11.

The fully underwritten offer was split between a $134 million institutional placement and a one-for-2.2 pro-rata accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer to raise $167 million.

The offer was priced at 80¢ a share, which represented a 25.9 per cent discount to G8’s $1.08 last close and a 16.1 per cent discount to the theoretical es-rights price, according to terms sent to funds.

G8 is the largest listed childcare provider in the country, with 475 centres.

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