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PHILADELPHIA-RAIT Investment Trust plans a public offering of nearly two million shares of common stock at $28.50 a share. After underwriting discounts and commissions of just over $1.28 per share, the locally based specialty financial REIT anticipates net proceeds of $53.9 million. The offering is expected to close Sept. 20.

Arlington, VA-based Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc. is the sole underwriter. RAIT has granted the underwriter an over-allotment option for an additional 295,700 shares, exercisable within 30 days, which would generate an additional $8 million in net proceeds. By deadline the over-allotment was exercised.

All of the stock consists of newly issued shares. RAIT plans to use the proceeds to repay indebtedness. RAS shares were trading at $28.65 a share on the NYSE on Thursday, Sept. 15. The 52-week high is $31.72 per share, reached on Aug. 1, 2005, while the 52-week low of $25.41 a share was reached on Jan. 12, 2005.

RAIT focuses on the mid-size commercial real estate industry. It provides structured financing, including senior and mezzanine lending and preferred equity investments to private and corporate owners of real estate and also acquires real estate for its own portfolio.

RAIT’s net income for the second quarter was $16.7 million, a 15% increase over $14.5 million in the same quarter a year ago. Income for the first half reached $33.1 million, compared with $28.4 million for first-half 2004. Total assets for the first half of this year reached $866.1 million, a 19% increase over $729.5 million at year-end 2004.

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