Bradford & Bingley denies equity-raising reports


Bradford & Bingley denies equity-raising reports
UK lender Bradford & Bingley (B&B) has denied reports it is intending to raise equity through a rights issue.

The bank insisted it has a strong capital base, above its regulatory requirements, which have funded its business through 2008 and will continue to into 2009.

In a statement, however, the bank added: "In the current market environment, the board will naturally continue to monitor closely the balance sheet strength of the business and its funding plans."

The statement follows press speculation in the Sunday newspapers that the board of B&B is considering ways of raising funds before the group's interim management statement due on April 22nd.

Reassurance from the bank it is not facing a liquidity crisis is essential in the current climate, as false rumours about HBOS caused its share price to plunge last month.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has launched an investigation into the incident, as some investors profited from the slump leading the watchdog to believe the rumours were spread maliciously.

In common with most other UK banks, investors have lost confidence in B&B since the credit crunch. Shares in the bank have lost 30 per cent of their value since August 2007.

Chief executive Steven Crawshaw, who is also the chairman of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), warned last week mortgage lending this year could halve unless the Bank of England provides additional funding.

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