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Avis Europe last Friday announced a rights issue aimed at
raising up to £151 million on the London Stock Exchange to shore up its balance
sheet and drive expansion in China. It expects to complete the move, which
issues nine new shares for eight old ones at a discount of 56 percent from
current market value, by July 27.
D'Ieteren, a Belgian-owned motoring services group that
holds 60 percent of the shares in Avis Europe, has committed itself to vote in
favor of the rights issue. Avis Europe announced at the same that it has
strengthened its financial position by negotiating a three-year revolving
credit facility to replace an existing one that matures in February 2011.
As well as reducing its debt, Avis said it would spend some
of the new cash on expanding in China from 26 locations today to more than 100
by the end of 2012. Avis Europe owns the Avis name in Asia, the Middle East and
Africa as well as Europe.
"The group will have a more robust capital structure
and the resources to take advantage of profitable opportunities for growth in
its traditional markets as economic conditions stabilize, continue the
expansion in higher-growth emerging markets and invest in new mobility
solutions," said chief executive Pascal Bazin.