Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has advised on two crucial raisings for its clients Southern Cross Media Group and Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group. The raisings, which rely on different structures, highlight the importance of clients understanding their options as they navigate fundraising provisions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corrs advised leading Australian media group, Southern Cross Media Group (ASX: SXL), on its recent capital raising which is expected to raise approximately $169 million from a fully underwritten placement to institutional and sophisticated investors and a follow on accelerated non-renounceable rights offer. The capital raising saw SXL become one of the first ASX-listed companies to take advantage of the temporary modifications to fundraising provisions in the ASX Listing Rules and Corporations Act, recently introduced to assist companies with capital raisings during COVID-19.

Specifically, SXL relied on the class waivers issued by ASX and ASIC on 31 March 2020 which now allow issuers to:

  • place up to 25% of their existing capital (temporarily lifted from 15%); and

  • offer entitlements in a non-renounceable rights offer at greater ratio than 1:1; and

  • raise capital through the low doc process, notwithstanding that its shares having been suspended for up to 10 days (traditionally a five-trading-day limit).

The placement and institutional offer successfully closed on 6 April 2020, raising approximately $149 million, while the retail entitlement offer, which is expected to raise an additional $19.5 million, is due to open on 15 April and close on 27 April 2020.

Lead partner, Justin Fox, said: “This capital raising is particularly significant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as it illustrates the positive impact that temporary regulatory changes can have in this market.”

At the same time, Corrs has advised Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group (ASX: SCP) in relation to its fully underwritten $250 million institutional placement and its non-underwritten $50 million unit purchase plan. The combined equity raising will be used to strengthen SCP’s balance sheet and provide it with funding flexibility to continue to deliver on its strategy of investing in convenience-based supermarket-anchored shopping centres. 

Lead partner, Andrew Lumsden, said: “While our regulators have shown that they can be flexible in a challenging equity market, this transaction demonstrates that the existing placement caps and arrangements for low doc offers by ASX-listed entities, can still be used by entities like Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group for significant fundraisings.” 

As discussed in Corrs’ recent paper COVID-19 Head Office Guide: unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, ASX, ASIC and Treasury have worked together to put in place a range of temporary measures to facilitate equity raisings in the current circumstances.