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East Tamaki property sold as Steel & Tube rings in changes

The exit door has been swinging at Steel & Tube Holdings Ltd, and the departures now include property.

Interim chief executive Mark Malpass said in September the board had determined to test the property market, putting its East Tamaki distribution centre up for sale, and on Friday he said the company had accepted an unconditional offer.

“At the heart of any change is recognition that we are a company that provides steel solutions, not a commercial property company. A sale & leaseback would release capital, improving the efficiency of our balance sheet, while still reflecting the importance of the property through favourable lease terms,” Mr Malpass said in September.

On Friday he said the company had signed an unconditional agreement to sell its 68 Stonedon Drive property for $32.577 million on a sale & leaseback basis. The transaction will be completed on 20 December.

That followed a statement from new chair Susan Paterson at the annual meeting on Thursday, that the company believed it could use funds from the sale to generate a better return for shareholders: “Steel & Tube intends to apply the sale proceeds to repay debt and strengthen its balance sheet. This positions the company well for future growth.”

Mr Malpass said the sale didn’t change the earnings guidance the company gave on Thursday – half-year earnings before interest & tax (ebit)) down $9-10 million, but restored in the second for full-year ebit “materially the same” as for the year just gone, which was $31.1 million.

In the first half of the 2018 financial year the company has seen margin pressures from higher steel purchase prices, which the market took some time to pass on to customers. The company has increased selling prices across its portfolio of steel products from mid- November and expects margins to improve in the second half of the financial year.

Mr Malpass said recent changes to the senior executive team were also bringing a fresh focus and, together with the board, he was targeting a turnaround of poorly performing business units and efficiency gains through a change programme.

Ms Paterson told the annual meeting: “Our strategy is to maximise value for our shareholders by creating a sustainable, long-term, successful business. The capital investment made into acquisitions & the business in the past 5 years has created a strong platform for Steel & Tube. However, we are very aware that the company has been too slow to realise the significant benefits & value from these.

“Management & the board are focused on resetting the performance of the business and delivering a sustainable improvement in financial performance, and we expect Steel & Tube to be a significantly stronger business in 12-24 months.”

The board has identified 2 key goals – to provide superior value to customers and to simplify the business. Among guidance points:

  • Half-year ebit is expected to be impacted by working capital review, reorganisation & restructuring activities, increased depreciation costs for a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) system and the slow response by the industry to margin pressures arising from increased costs of supply. Steel & Tube announced price changes to take effect from mid-November in response to market cost pressures
  • The recent implementation of the new ERP system is a key enabler now available to the business and has helped assist management with a review of slow-moving inventory
  • About half the expected decrease in half-year ebit is due to an anticipated writedown of inventory
  • Excluding the one-off inventory valuation adjustment included in the half-year earnings guidance, full year EBIT for the 2018 financial year is expected to be materially the same as the 2017 financial year EBIT of $31.1 million, as the impacts from recent price changes and the benefits of change actions are realised.

The change programme, to enable the company to maximise the value of investments made over the last 5 years, includes:

  • The realignment & simplification of Steel & Tube businesses into 2 streams (distribution & infrastructure), including the integration of acquired businesses
  • Delivering sustainable earnings growth and leveraging the value from the recent capital expenditure programme, including the new ERP system
  • Strengthening the company’s capital structure, including optimising the supply chain and review of the company’s property portfolio
  • Reviewing working capital with a focus on surplus slow-moving inventory items; and
  • A continuing focus on quality, health & safety and the environment.

 Attribution: Company releases, annual meeting speechnotes.

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Christchurch council launches bond offer

Christchurch City Council company Christchurch City Holdings Ltd lodged the product disclosure statement on Thursday for a $150 million bond offer on Thursday – $100 million plus $50 million of oversubscriptions.

The council company’s chief financial officer, Leah Scales, said on Thursday S&P Global Ratings was expected to assign an A+ rating to the 5-year unsecured unsubordinated fixed-rate bonds.

The offer is expected to open on Monday 27 November, closing on 29 November. All the bonds are reserved for clients of the joint lead managers & other approved financial intermediaries. There’s no public pool.

Attribution: Company release.

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Precinct bond issue fully subscribed

The margin for Precinct Properties NZ Ltd’s new $100 million of bonds has been set at 1.50%/year over the 7-year swap rate, and the interest rate has been set at 4.42%/year.

Precinct offered $75 million of secured unsubordinated fixed-rate bonds plus $25 million in oversubscriptions, which were all taken up.

All the bonds have been allocated to intermediaries for distribution to their clients. No public pool is available. The bonds will be issued on 27 November.

Earlier story:
13 November 2017: Precinct launches bond issue

Attribution: Company release.

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One condition left on Central Park sale, and Air NZ extends at Fanshawe St

Goodman Property Trust manager Goodman (NZ) Ltd said yesterday its sale of Central Park at Greenlane had all but gone unconditional, with only Overseas Investment Office approval still required.

The trust has also secured a new long-term lease commitment from Air NZ on its Fanshawe St headquarters.

Goodman (NZ) chief executive John Dakin said yesterday the $209 million Central Park sale to a joint venture led by New Zealand property fund manager Oyster Property Group Ltd represented a significant milestone in the repositioning of the Goodman trust, marking the last of its major identified asset sales.

“Following settlement of the property, the trust’s portfolio will be almost 90% invested in its preferred Auckland industrial sector and will have a value of $2.4 billion.

“With over $850 million of asset sales since 2012, we have positively rebalanced the trust’s portfolio, improving the quality & growth profile of the assets. It’s a disciplined strategy that is focused on the delivery of the industrial development pipeline and building a portfolio of unrivalled quality.”

Air NZ’s headquarters at 185 Fanshawe St.

The VXV precinct

The Goodman trust’s office investment is now focused in the VXV precinct of the Auckland waterfront Wynyard Quarter. The trust jointly owns the portfolio of 7 buildings with GIC Pte Ltd, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore. The portfolio has a value of $488.4 million and Goodman’s proportionate share is $249.1 million.

Air NZ’s head office at 185 Fanshawe St is in that precinct. Trans Tasman Properties Ltd began development of the 6-level building in 2005, putting a $60 million value on it, but sold the development part-built to what was then the Macquarie Goodman Property Trust, with Air NZ as the incoming tenant.

Air NZ has renewed its lease for 10 years. Mr Dakin said that, and the Central Park sale, would increase Goodman’s portfolio occupancy to 98% extend the office portfolio’s weighted average lease term to 10.6 years and the overall lease term to 6.2 years.

Earlier story:
10 November 2017: Big property sale follows first-half profit setback for Goodman

Attribution: Company release.

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Stride revives plan to sell 3 Bunnings store to Investore amid other capital management initiatives

Investore Property Ltd and its creator & asset manager, Stride Property Ltd, engaged in some transactions this week which will see Investore buy 3 Bunnings properties from Stride, along with a number of other capital management issues.

Stride intended to sell the 3 properties to Investore when Investore listed last year, but didn’t get lease agreement in time. The new proposal requires Investore shareholder approval, but a meeting date hasn’t been set yet.

Investore is to buy 3 Bunnings properties at Hamilton, Rotorua & Palmerston North from Stride for $78.5 million at an initial yield of 6.13%, with structured growth of fixed 2.5%/year rental uplift.

Investore’s board is also exploring a possible share buyback & bond offering, and said its guidance of 7.46c/share cash dividend for the 2018 financial year was unchanged.

Stride established Investore out of a division of its own business and added a portfolio of Countdown supermarkets to list it in 2016. The forward investment strategy was to continue to acquire large format retail properties, a segment of the market identified as offering unique investment attributes.

“With this investment mandate clearly established, the board’s focus has been to look for further opportunities to expand Investore’s portfolio and to enhance shareholder returns by optimising capital structure. Investore believes the combination of the proposed acquisition, the capital management initiatives being considered, which include options around the implementation of a share buyback scheme & a bond issue, and repositioning of the portfolio, delivers on this strategy.”

Investore signalled in its 2016 initial public offering product disclosure statement that Stride had intended to transfer its remaining large format retail properties to Investore. However, Stride retained ownership of the identified assets because the terms of transfer couldn’t be agreed with the tenant, Bunnings Ltd, within the timeframe required to align a divestment with the timing of the Investore IPO.

As a material transaction under NZX listing rules concerning related parties, the transaction requires Investore shareholder approval. A meeting date hasn’t been set yet, but the board hopes to get approval for settlement to be concluded by 28 February. It’s engaged Northington Partners Ltd to prepare an independent appraisal report.

Independent Investore directors Mike Allen & Kate Healy managed the sale & purchase agreement negotiation with the Stride board and received independent valuations from Jones Lang LaSalle which supported the $78.5 million acquisition price.

Investore’s board said the acquisition of this Bunnings portfolio would diversify the tenant mix, reducing the Countdown concentration from 81% (as at 30 September 2017) to 73%, with Bunnings equating to 10% of the portfolio contract rental.

The board said the Bunnings’ portfolio would be leased on new 12-year lease terms and provide a higher proportion of structured growth into Investore’s portfolio, with a fixed 2.5%/year rental uplift. Net rent under the new lease starts at $4.81 million/year.

Following settlement of these properties, Investore’s bank loan:value ratio (LVR) is expected to increase from 39% to 46%. The board said: “Although this is below the targeted maximum LVR ratio of 48%, Investore is planning on disposing up to 3 properties to provide balance sheet capacity for future activities, including capital expenditure works, and is exploring the options around the implementation of a potential share buyback scheme. In addition, the board is also considering a bond issue.”

Bunnings retains the right to acquire the properties at year 48 of the lease, on the assumption that a new 6-year lease term is in place.

As a part of the 3 lease restructures, Stride will pay Bunnings $18 million on termination of the old leases & commencement of the new leases, implying a net cost to Stride of $13 million post-tax deductibility. As the payment is a component of investment property, it’s not expected to materially affect Stride’s distributable profit for the year to March 2018.

Stride has retained its other Bunnings property, at Carr Rd, Mt Roskill, where Bunnings has signalled its intent to carry out works within the next 12 months. Subsequent to these works, and subject to changes in the market or other portfolio commitments, Stride said it expected to put this asset on the market at the end of 2018.

Stride chair Tim Storey said the Stride board had reviewed its strategy on ownership of large format retail property and reaffirmed its view that interests in such assets should be held through Stride’s investment in Investore, or sold.

Attribution: Company releases.

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Kiwi Property sells Majestic to Investec fund

Kiwi Property Group Ltd has secured an agreement to sell the Majestic Centre in Wellington for $123.2 million to Investec Property Ltd, as the responsible entity for the Investec Australia Property Fund.

As part of the sale arrangement, Investec will appoint Kiwi Property to manage the office tower, which has undergone one of New Zealand’s largest seismic upgrades. It’s Investec’s first New Zealand purchase.

Kiwi Property chief executive Chris Gudgeon said yesterday: “We are immensely proud of what we have achieved for the tenants of the Majestic Centre, raising the seismic performance rating of the office tower to 100% of new building standard.

“Notwithstanding, the Majestic Centre was identified for sale as part of our capital recycling programme. Proceeds from the sale, which is due to settle in December, will be used to pay down bank debt, providing further flexibility for Kiwi Property to invest in line with our strategy.”

In the company’s annual accounts to March 2017, the value of the 21-storey Majestic Centre increased to $119.4 million, but a net value loss of $5 million was recorded after allowing for capex on the seismic upgrade programme completed in January. The building, at 100 Willis St, has a net lettable area of 24,469m² (2322m² retail, 22147m² office) & 240 parking spaces and typical floorplates of 1000m².

Kiwi Property is due to release its result for the September half-year next Monday, 20 November. At the moment it’s showing the Majestic Centre has 92.1% occupancy, a weighted average lease term of 6.8 years & net rental income of $7.1 million.

The buyer, Investec, said it was acquiring the property on an initial yield of 7.1% and with average annual contractual rental escalations of about 2.75%. It said the property was 98% occupied and had a long weighted average lease expiry of 6.6 years.

Investec is a South African investment bank which has a dual listing in Johannesburg & London. It floated the Investec Australia Property Fund on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2013, launching with an $A130 million portfolio of 8 industrial & office properties.

That portfolio now comprises 25 properties worth $A942 million, and fund chief executive Graeme Katz said yesterday that was a scale at which management believed an ASX listing could be considered.

He added: “We continue to believe in the case for investing in good quality investment properties in Australia & New Zealand. The fund’s current equity yield of 8.2% is attractive for South African investors, especially as it is underpinned by the region’s favourable macro-economic conditions, property yield spread over historically low funding costs locked in and income returns in hard currency.”

Link:
14 November 2017: IAPF portfolio value approaches $A1.0bn mark through acquisition & value uplift

Attribution: Kiwi & Investec releases.

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Summerset buys more land for Christchurch village

Retirement village developer & operator Summerset Group Holdings Ltd has bought an extra 2.1ha next to its Casebrook village in Christchurch.

Chief executive Julian Cook said yesterday the land on Cavendish Rd would provide for an additional 71 villas: “We are seeing strong enquiry for our Casebrook village, which is currently under construction, with the first homes available to move into in March next year.”

On completion, Summerset on Cavendish will now offer over 340 homes, including 2- & 3- bedroom villas and serviced apartments. It will also provide rest-home & hospital-level care and the company’s first memory care centre in Christchurch. This concept provides for people with dementia to have their own one-bedroom apartment complete, with living space & bathroom, in a secure environment.

“We were the first aged-care operator in New Zealand to launch this style of apartment living for those with dementia. Our first memory care centre opened in Levin last November. These centres provide residents with the dignity & respect of having their own home within a secure centre, purpose-designed for their needs.”

Attribution: Company release.

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Precinct launches bond issue

Precinct Properties NZ Ltd launched its $100 million bond issue today – up to $75 million of secured unsubordinated fixed-rate 7-year bonds, with the ability to accept $25 million more – to institutional & New Zealand retail investors. There’s no public pool.

The indicative margin range above the 7-year swap rate is 1.5-1.6%/year, subject to a minimum interest rate of 4.4%/year. The margin & interest rate will be set on Friday 17 November following a bookbuild process.

Link: Indicative terms sheet

Earlier story:
10 November 2017: Precinct expects to open bond offer next week

Attribution: Company release.

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Updated: PFI $100 million bond issue fully subscribed

Published 2 November 2017, updated 12 November 2017:
Property for Industry Ltd confirmed its $100 million 7-year bond issue on 2 November. On 10 November, the interest rate was set at 4.59%/year, reflecting a margin of 1.65%/year above the 7-year swap rate.

PFI offered $75 million of senior secured fixed rate bonds to institutional & New Zealand retail investors and $25 million in oversubscriptions, and it was fully subscribed. There was no public pool. The company will use the proceeds to repay existing bank debt.

PFI expects the offer to open next Monday, 13 November, and to close on Friday 24 November. The indicative margin range above the 7-year swap rate for the bonds was 1.65-1.8%/year, subject to a minimum interest rate of 4.55%/year. The margin & interest rate were set following a bookbuild process on Friday 10 November.

Link: PFI bond offer product disclosure statement, terms sheet & presentation

Earlier stories:
1 November 2017: PFI settles portfolio purchase
6 October 2017: PFI uses new credit facility & rights issue to buy low-site-coverage freight portfolio

Attribution: Company release.

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PFI gets 79% takeup for rights offer

NZX listed industrial property landlord Property for Industry Ltd said on Thursday 78.7% of the new shares available under its 1:10 pro rata renounceable rights offer were taken up.

The 35.7 million new shares represent gross proceeds of $54.9 million. The new shares not taken up under the rights offer will be allotted to the underwriter, Forsyth Barr Group Ltd.

New shares will be allotted & begin trading on Tuesday 7 November.

Earlier stories:
2 November 2017: PFI launches $100 million bond issue
1 November 2017: PFI settles portfolio purchase
6 October 2017: PFI uses new credit facility & rights issue to buy low-site-coverage freight portfolio

Attribution: Company release.

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