Austrian brick producer Wienerberger, which recently took over Black Country rival Baggeridge, is boosting its balance sheet to help it fund further growth and acquisitions.
The company announced yesterday it would be issuing 9.8 million new shares - 13.2 per cent of the existing total - to boost its share capital by up to £321 million.
Chief executive Wolfgang Reithofer said yesterday: "With this capital increase we want to continue the profitable growth track of Wienerberger based on a sound capital base and also create value for our shareholders."
The share capital of the company amounts to £51.9 million and will be increased to £58.6 million through the capital increase.
The subscription ratio is 2:15, which means the rights offering to existing shareholders will be in the ratio of two new shares per 15 existing shares.
The final subscription and offer price is expected to be announced on October 9 with trading beginning the following day.
Wienerberger said the capital increase would be used to continue its "profitable and value enhancing growth strategy".
"We define profitable growth as an above-average increase in operating EBITDA and earnings per share, in comparison to the building materials sector, of roughly 10 per cent per year," said Mr Reithofer.
For 2007 Wienerberger, which is now the world's largest and fastest growing brick company, increased its goal to grow operating EBITDA and earnings per share by at least 15 per cent compared to 2006.
The firm's growth model is based on bolt-on projects - the extension of existing plants, new plant construction, and smaller acquisitions - as well as selective strategic acquisitions.
Over the last five years, Wienerberger has executed more than 60 acquisitions and has achieved above-average value creation for its shareholders.
The company expects to invest approximately £350 million in growth projects this year, with more than £181 million to be spent on bolt-on projects and £154 million for strategic acquisitions such as Baggeridge and Canada's Arriscraft.
Future plans include the development of 25 new plants by 2012 with the focus for expansion clearly aimed at Central and Eastern Europe.
Major investment will also take place in Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Ukraine, while the company said it was also expanding hollow brick production in Western Europe.