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First Irish housebuilder to float since 1997 makes strong debut

Stock MarketsJun 10, 2015 11:11
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© Reuters. First Irish housebuilder to float since 1997 makes strong debut

By Conor Humphries

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Cairn Homes , the first Irish housebuilder to float in almost 20 years, made a strong market debut on Wednesday, as investors bet on the robust recovery of a property market still grappling with the fallout from the financial crisis.

Shares in the company rose 5.5 percent on their first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange, after it raised 400 million euros ($453 million) in a sale of new shares.

Ireland's property market was among the hardest hit in the 2008-9 global financial crisis, with prices plunging by more than 50 percent. The country is still dotted with ghost estates and an estimated 300,000 of its 700,000 mortgage holders are still in negative equity.

But prices have started to recover. They were up 16 percent last year, and though they remain about 38 percent below their 2007 peak, there are areas of stronger growth, including in the capital Dublin where there is an acute housing shortage.

Many older developers are focused on mending their finances and struggling to meet the demand.

Cairn, set up last year, focuses on construction projects in Dublin, the Dublin commuter belt, and Cork and Galway in the south and west of the country. It has secured five sites with a total estimated gross development value of 366 million euros.

The company issued shares at 1 euro each. They were at 1.055 euros by 0910 GMT in conditional trading, dealing which allows banks and brokerages to trade shares between themselves and stabilise the price of an initial public offering (IPO) before the stock is issued to the public markets.

Unconditional trading is due to begin on Monday.

Including the investment of approximately 29 million euros in equity and cash by Cairn's founders, the company's market capitalisation was 429.7 million euros before trading began.

Net of costs, the IPO raised 384.9 million euros, the company said in a statement.

McInerney Holdings in 1997 was the last Irish homebuilder to float on the stock market. It delisted in 2010.

Real estate investment trust Irish Residential Property REIT (IRPR) (I:IRES) last year raised 200 million euros on the Irish stock exchange. Green REIT (I:GN1) and Hibernia REIT (I:HBRN) have also raised funds to invest in Irish commercial property.

(This story was refiled to change the day in the first paragraph to Wednesday from Tuesday)

First Irish housebuilder to float since 1997 makes strong debut
 

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