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Unite Group to raise £170M via share placement

Student housing-focused real estate investment trust Unite Group Plc plans to raise gross proceeds of roughly £170 million via the placement of up to approximately 22.2 million new ordinary shares, representing up to roughly 9.2% of the company's issued ordinary share capital.

Proceeds, along with debt, will be channeled toward the development of an 887-bed scheme in Oxford with Oxford Brookes University and a roughly 1,000-bed project in London with Kings College London.

The two developments have a capital expenditure of around £73 million and £195 million, respectively, with openings scheduled in 2019 and 2021. Additionally, the funds raised will help Unite Group to retain 100% ownership of the two University partnership opportunities, according to a release.

In a separate filing, the group said it will pay a total dividend of 22.7 pence per share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, which will also include a final dividend of 15.4 pence per share. The company paid out 18 pence per share in 2016.

The new shares in the placement will be entitled to the final dividend for the year ended, the company added.

The shares are expected to be admitted to the premium listing segment of the official list of the Financial Conduct Authority on Feb. 23 and to trading on the main market for listed securities of the London Stock Exchange, subject to approval.

J.P. Morgan Cazenove and Numis Securities Ltd. are the joint book runners for the placement.