India's second largest real estate firm Unitech, which is having trouble meeting debt payments, is planning to raise Rs 5,000 crore ($1 billion) through issue of new shares. The company has said informing the exchanges that its board of directors have approved "raising of additional long-term funds upto Rs 5000 crore or equivalent thereto in other currencies, through issuance of further securities in the Company." The directors of the company have also approved an increase in authorised share capital from Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,000 crore.

The company has called an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the members on January 19, 2009.

The real estate giant has seen its share price fall from Rs 546 to Rs 21 in the last one year. Currently the shares of Unitech are trading at Rs 45.75, up by 3.4% today, as the news of banks  cutting interest rates lifted the markets in the morning. Unitech Ltd has consolidated debt of nearly Rs 8,000 crore, and has to make a payment of Rs 2,700 crore of debt obligations by March. Unitech's debt to equity ratio is at 1.8. 

A debt of Rs 2,000 crore has been taken on account of Unitech Wireless, in which the firm has sold 60% stake for roughly Rs 6,120 crore to Norway's Telenor. The company will transfer the Rs 2,000 crore debt to Unitech Wireless.

Unitech has also started selling its hotels in order to raise funds. It has reportedly sold its Marriott Courtyard hospitality project in Gurgaon for Rs 265 crore. ITC, international hotel chain Accor and some HNIs are said to be in the race to acquire six hotel Unitech hotel properties. The realty major plans to raise between Rs 1,200-1,500 crore through disposal of assets. It is also planning to raise Rs 1,000 crore through selling stake in projects to private equity funds. 

Despite the lack of funds, Unitech announced its plans to invest Rs 2,500 crore to launch residential units in the Rs 30-50 lakh range by the next fiscal. These projects are planned to be developed in Gurgaon, Noida, Greater Noida, Kolkata and Chennai, where it has land banks.

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