Banks waive Battersea Power Station debt deadline

Thu Sep 1, 2011 11:12am BST

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* Lenders allow more time for new equity partner to be found

* Talks with four or five parties continue

* Announcement expected in next weeks

By Tom Bill

LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Lenders to the owner of Battersea Power Station in London waived a debt maturity deadline yesterday while talks with potential new equity partners for its redevelopment continued, a source close to the process told Reuters.

AIM-listed Real Estate Opportunities is seeking a partner for the 5.5 billion pound ($9 billion) development, and its senior lenders Lloyds and Ireland's National Asset Management Agency have already extended a deadline once relating to the 400 million pounds REO paid for the site in 2006.

"The banks have nothing to gain by calling the debt in. Talks with new equity partners continue, and an announcement may come in the next few weeks," the source said.

The 10.1 million square-foot redevelopment involves an extension to the Northern Line underground railway, and the construction of thousands of homes, retail and office space.

REO has spoken to sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms, wealthy families and property companies about taking a stake. There is a shortlist of four or five parties, the source said.

Battersea's imposing white brick chimneys have been a feature of London's skyline for almost 80 years, but schemes to redvelop the site have repeatedly run aground since power production ceased nearly three decades ago.

The project is one of the largest regeneration proposals being considered in the capital, and is expected to provide up to 25,000 jobs, with about 15,000 people working within the station. ($1 = 0.614 British Pounds) (Editing by Will Waterman)

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