GO
Loading...

Shareholders Buy 95% of RBS Rights Issue

Reuters
Monday, 9 Jun 2008 | 12:39 PM ET

Royal Bank of Scotland said all but 5 percent of its shareholders subscribed for its record 12 billion pound ($23.5 billion) rights issue, but turmoil in the sector rattled its shares again on Monday.

A Royal Bank of Scotland logo is seen outside the company's offices in central London, Tuesday May 29, 2007. A consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland PLC said Tuesday it will launch a hostile bid of euro71.1 billion (US$95.5 billion) for ABN Amro, topping a friendly offer from Barclays PLC and pressing Bank of America Corp. for control of the Dutch bank's U.S. arm. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham
A Royal Bank of Scotland logo is seen outside the company's offices in central London, Tuesday May 29, 2007. A consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland PLC said Tuesday it will launch a hostile bid of euro71.1 billion (US$95.5 billion) for ABN Amro, topping a friendly offer from Barclays PLC and pressing Bank of America Corp. for control of the Dutch bank's U.S. arm. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Britain's second-biggest bank said 95.1 percent of investors subscribed for its rights issue, higher than had been expected early in the process, and underwriters sold the leftover shares worth 690 million pounds to other investors.

But the "rump" was sold at a lower price than hoped as RBS shares fell almost 5 percent after U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers said it would raise $6 billion to rebuild capital as it heads for a $2.8 billion second-quarter loss.

RBS launched its rights issue to rebuild one of the most stretched bank balance sheets in Europe.

Its capital cushion was hit by its part in last year's takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro and by 8 billion pounds of writedowns on risky assets.

RBS Wins Rights-Issue Race
Royal Bank of Scotland's rights issue was so phenomenally successful it has ruined it for all the other banks looking to raise money, Ralph Silva from TowerGroup told CNBC Monday.

The strong take-up showed investors would back calls for cash even after steep falls in shares across the battered bank sector, but Lehman signalled that financial market turmoil was likely to last some time and more writedowns and capital raisings would be seen.

"It's a good level of take-up for one of the biggest ever rights issues, done in not easy circumstances," said Alan Beaney, head of investment at Principal Investment Management, which manages about 1 billion pounds.

"The company (RBS) is still trading reasonably well and now doesn't have that capital worry, so maybe it can be knocked forward now." The shares closed down 4.8 percent at 233.75 pence, cutting the bank's market value to 38 billion pounds.

The rump shares were placed by underwriters UBS, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs at 230p each.

Rocky Ride

The DJ Stoxx index of European bank shares fell 2 percent, and Barclays lost 5.7 percent as it faced renewed speculation it too needed to repair its balance sheet with a rights issue or by selling a stake to an outside investor, dealers said.

Another UK rival HBOS tumbled 7 percent to 307p as it faces a rocky period until its 4 billion pound rights issue closes next month.

Its rights issue is priced at 275p.

HBOS is more exposed to the slowing UK housing market than RBS, and 27 percent of its shareholder base is retail investors who, hit by rising mortgage, food and fuel bills, are considered less likely to take up the offer.

The cash call at RBS, which is due to issue a trading update on Wednesday, marks an abrupt U-turn after the bank had said earlier this year it did not need to raise capital.

Against a tough backdrop regulators are keen for banks to hold more capital, and there is a queue of banks following in RBS's footsteps.

Shares in Swiss bank UBS dipped 3 percent on the last day of trading its rights as it taps investors for 16 billion Swiss francs ($15.7 billion).

France's Credit Agricole has kicked off a 5.9 billion euros rights issue, while smaller lender Bradford & Bingley was last week forced to slash the price of its emergency fundraising after issuing a stark warning on the state of the UK mortgage market.

Featured

Banks