Freeport raises cash for European expansion

LONDON-Specialist outlet mall operator Freeport has joined the growing trend for property investors to transform themselves into asset managers by setting up the Freeport Limited Partnership and it has begun marketing the product to external investors.

Chief Executive Sean Collidge said the fund would allow the company to recycle the profits from the schemes into the next phase of its development programme, which will see it stepping up its march into mainland Europe. Freeport has already opened in Kungsbacka, Sweden, and it has identified sites for new outlet malls in Portugal, the Czech Republic and in France.

At the same time the company is looking to raise £49 million ($70 million) from a two-for-seven rights issue to part-finance the European developments.

Collidge said: ‘Although the concept of outlet shopping is already established in mainland Europe, the market is still relatively undeveloped. The new mainland European developments place Freeport in an ideal position to transfer its proven development skills and management systems to this exciting arena, which will form the next stage of Freeport’s growth.’

The announcements came as Freeport unveiled pre-tax profits up 16% to £5.4 million ($7.7 million) on turnover up 4% to £9.1 million 12.9 million) for the year ended 31 December 2001.

(source: Freeport)

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