Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 10:37 UK

Shareholders back B&B cash call

Bradford & Bingley branch

Shareholders in beleaguered lender Bradford & Bingley (B&B) have backed a 400m plan to boost its balance sheet.

Shareholders meeting in Sheffield gave the approval even though its stock is now trading below the price at which it plans to offer shares to investors.

The bank's two previous fund-raising schemes failed to get off the ground, undermining management credibility.

Rival banks Barclays and HBOS will find out this week if their attempts to raise cash have been successful.

Existing shareholders, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of the rights issue, will now get the opportunity to buy new shares in the bank.

"If we keep our heads, we will get through it," chairman Rod Kent told the investors at the meeting.

"We completely understand that this has not been a comfortable process for our shareholders, our customers and our employees."

Failed attempts

B&B plans to sell 400m worth of shares to existing shareholders, but analysts have questioned whether investors will take up their rights, given that B&B shares are still trading below the offer price of 55p.

WHAT IS A RIGHTS ISSUE?
Companies issue extra shares to raise money
They are offered to existing shareholders, usually at a discount to the current share price
Shares are offered in proportion to existing holdings, so if you own 10% of the old shares you are offered 10% of the new ones

B&B shares have been trading near record lows. On Thursday morning, its stock was trading at 51.75p.

The lender, which specialises in buy-to-let mortgages, has been hit hard by the credit crunch.

Thursday's vote came after two failed attempts to secure capital from investors.

The bank first announced an attempt to sell shares at 82p in May.

As trading took a turn for the worse, the bank decided to sell a 23% stake in the firm to Texas Pacific, but the private equity firm later backed out.

Crunch week

Barclays and HBOS also face concerns over their moves to shore up their finances.

Barclays's 4.5bn share sale closes on Thursday, while HBOS will find out on Friday to what extent its shareholders have backed a 4bn rights issue.




SEE ALSO
B&B shares fall 18% to record low
07 Jul 08 |  Business
B&B 'faces fee for failed deal'
06 Jul 08 |  Business
UK investors rescue B&B cash call
04 Jul 08 |  Business
B&B fund-raising effort rescued
03 Jul 08 |  Business

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