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Equity finance: Real estate convertibles are the hot ticket

Investors are hungry for property exposure and for equity-linked paper. The result? Real estate convertibles are in huge demand. Europe and Asia are on a high while a new market has also sprung up from the Middle East. Laurence Neville reports.

A new market in convertible sukuks
Asian boom
Europe’s record breaker

Real estate companies have dominated the equity-linked markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia in the past six months as never before. Changes within the sector, combined with an investor base eager for both property exposure and equity-linked paper, have conspired to make the sector the hot ticket for issuance.
There has always been equity-linked real estate issuance but in Europe, for example, just one or two deals have typically been completed every year. This year, in contrast, there have already been four issues, accounting for around 60% of total funds raised, compared with 19% in 2006. In addition, European real estate has enjoyed its largest convertible to date, from Austrian group Immofinanz, and the first deal from a hotel real estate investment trust (Reit), from Vector Hospitality, is poised to launch.
"The growth of real estate equity-linked issuance is pronounced in all major geographies," notes Luke Olsen, head of convertible bond research at Barclays Capital in London. "European and Asian market volumes have experienced a major resurgence, while a new market has developed in the Middle East with two jumbo issues from property companies in the past six months."

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