July 29: Rexam, the world’s largest beverage canmaking company, has unveiled a rights issue to raise £350.7m (US$578.7m) in order to reduce £2.1bn ($3.4bn) debt and protect its credit rating.

The announcement came as the company reported a £15m ($24.7m) first-half net loss as a result of weaker volumes, compared to a profit of £97m ($160m) in the first half last year. Due to favourable foreign exchange translation, company sales were up 15 percent to £2.5bn ($4.1bn) in the period.

Commenting on the results, chief executive Leslie Van de Walle said, “Rexam continues to deliver a relatively resilient operational performance against a very challenging backdrop.

“The rights issue announced today will strengthen our financial position with regard to our investment grade rating. We see no clear upturn through the rest of the year in current trading conditions,” he said.

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