Archive | Archive – world property

World property W15Oct14 – Mirvac buys Birkenhead Pt, NAB adds UK asset manager, Scotland replaces stamp duty, Sovereign funds trade in London

Mirvac buys Birkenhead Point
NAB buys into UK manager Orchard Street
Scotland replaces stamp duty
Norges Bank buys $1.2 billion London building from GIC

Mirvac buys Birkenhead Point

Birkenhead Point, Sydney.

Birkenhead Point, Sydney.

Mirvac Group has entered into an agreement to acquire the Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre at Drummoyne, 5km from the Sydney cbd, including the adjoining carparking facility & marina, for $A310 million.

CDL Hotels NZ Ltd (now Millennium & Copthorne Hotels NZ Ltd) sold Birkenhead Point to Intro International Ltd (Denis Jen) in 2004 for $120 million. It had been an asset of Kingsgate International Corp Ltd, controlled by CDL & Tai Tak Securities Pte Ltd.

Abacus Property Group & the Kirsh Group bought it in 2010 for $A174 million and upgraded the retail offer into a convenience-based shopping centre & fashion outlet centre. The 187-berth marina was in the final upgrade stages.

Mirvac said its purchase, expected to be completed in November, represented a fully let passing yield of 6.6%.

The 3.7ha waterfront site has a gross lettable area of 33,100m² and parking for 1395 cars. Moving annual turnover is $A228.5 million at $A8082/m².

Link: Mirvac Group

NAB buys into UK manager Orchard Street

National Australia Bank’s global asset management business, NAB Asset Management, has bought a majority stake in UK specialist commercial property investment manager Orchard Street Investment Management LLP from the existing partners.

The bank has 12 other global asset managers operating in all major asset classes, managing $A178 billion in 50 investment strategies.

Orchard Street has grown its assets under management from £800 million to £4 billion in 10 years.

Scotland replaces stamp duty

A new land & buildings transaction tax will replace stamp duty in Scotland next April, and Property Wire editor Ray Clancy said at the weekend he expects this to herald change in the rest of the UK.

The starting threshold is £135,000, up from the stamp duty threshold of £125,000. A marginal tax of 2% will apply to the proportion of a transaction between £135-250,000, a 10% rate will apply between £250,001-1 million and there will be a new 12% tax on properties costing more than £1 million.

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment & Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, announced the rates & bands for the tax last Thursday, as part of the draft budget for 2015-16. The proposed rates & bands are subject to parliamentary approval.

It’s the first tax created by a Scottish parliament in 300 years.

Links: Scottish Government, land & buildings transaction tax
Property Wire, Property tax set for major change in the UK

Norges Bank buys $1.2 billion London building from GIC

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Centre, London.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Centre, London.

Norway’s state-owned investment fund based on oil royalties, Norges Bank Investment Management, bought a 54,350m² London office complex (at left, aerial shot above) for £582.5 million ($NZ1.182 billion) cash last week from the Singapore Government’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC.

GIC bought the property from Merrill Lynch & Co Inc in 2007 for £480 million.

The property, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Centre at 2 King Edward St, is a freehold office campus consisting of 4 independent office buildings occupying a 1.3ha site. It’s fully leased to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which will continue to manage it.

The Norwegian fund also bought a 50% interest in a 42,000m² Dutch logistics property last week, through its joint venture with US company Prologis.

Norges paid €12.4 million, again with no debt financing, for the building in Born.

Link: Norges Bank Investment Management

Attribution: Mirvac, Abacus, NAB, Orchard St, Scottish Government, Norges Bank

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen, World Property Channel

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Snapshot on world property, week to 27 November 2011

Contents:

 

Centro survives

Latest from RICS internationally

 

23 November 2011:

 

Centro survives

Centro Property Group got the overwhelming votes it needed yesterday from lenders & convertible bondholders to stay in business. The lenders voted 100% in favour after 28% abstained, and the bondholders were just under 100% in favour of the scheme of arrangement which will see securityholders – 26,000 mostly small; investors with an average holding of around 37,000 securities – get A5.03c/security.

They stood to get nothing if the scheme wasn’t approved and the 2 Centro entities, Centro Property Trust & Centro Properties Ltd, were forced into receivership. The outcome is that all the assets will go to the renamed Centro Properties – Central Retail Australia – which will be owned by its secured lenders in exchange for the cancellation of debt.

The scheme still needs the approval of the NSW Supreme Court, which Centro’s former auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said on Monday it would challenge.

The group was one of the major Australian property casualties of the global financial crisis and has been struggling to stay alive since the end of 2007. It sold its US assets in February for $US9.4 billion but was still not going to be able to meet its debt obligations.

It had negative equity of $A1.3 billion at 30 June this year and $A2.9 billion of debt maturing on 15 December – now cancelled, if the scheme gets court approval.

The scheme was faltering until late last week, when $A90 million of debt was found to offer to shareholders, winning over the largest external shareholder, Marathon Asset Management.

The new-look listed property trust will own 43 Australian shopping centres worth $A4.4 billion. Combining that with its syndicate business, the group will have assets of $A7 billion.

 

Latest from RICS internationally

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) global real estate weekly updates, which I was having trouble connecting to initially, can be reached from this link: RICS, grew.

Want to comment? Go to the forum.

 

Attribution: Compiled & story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Snapshot on world property, week to 6 November 2011

Contents:

 

RICS weekly update at foot of page

Simon files case against home state for not collecting net sales tax

Goodman wins China award, has 5 new Chin projects underway

Goodman European Logistics Fund launches rights issue, group starts 3 new European projects

New Woolworths chief ponders property float, Dick Smith options, multi-channel retailing

Valad resumes growth under Blackstone ownership

RICS weekly update

 

6 November 2011:

 

The Snapshot on world property is, I think, a more effective way of letting you know about many overseas property events, succinctly, rather than trying to put a handful of them into “proper” story format… and losing the lot because I don’t have time to do that.

It’s been in abeyance since February 2004, along with most of the other Snapshots, when numerous changes were made to The Bob Dey Property Report.

 

RICS weekly update at foot of page

 

Introduced this week, at the foot of the page, is the weekly update on world property news from RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; New Zealand fits into the Oceania branch of it).

 

Simon files case against home state for not collecting net sales tax

 

Simon Property Group Inc took up the battle of bricks-&-mortar retailers against internet sales on Thursday by filing a complaint against its home state of Indiana for not collecting sales tax from Amazon on sales made within the state.

Simon, biggest retail real estate owner, developer & manager in the US, filed its complaint against the state in the Marion County Circuit Court. The company said it wasn’t seeking monetary damages, but “to benefit all of Indiana’s taxpayers and the state’s bricks-&-mortar retailers, many of which are Simon’s tenants at its 27 shopping centres in Indiana….

“Amazon.com is required by Indiana law to collect & remit sales & use taxes to the state, for sales made over the internet, but has consistently refused to do so even though it is required by current Indiana laws.”

 

Goodman wins China award, has 5 new Chin projects underway

Goodman Group was awarded the Westpac business excellence award for large companies at the end of October for its performance in greater China. The company entered the China market in 2005 and has $US2 billion invested in the region.

It’s become one of the largest industrial landlords in Hong Kong, with a portfolio of about 900,000m² with a value of $US1.3 billion. Its latest development project, Interlink, is due for completion in January and is the largest industrial development in Hong Kong for over 10 years, offering 223,000m². It’s also the first building of its type to be awarded both a LEED certification and the HK BEAM Gold standard certification. In mainland China, Goodman owns & manages a portfolio of 7 warehouse & distribution facilities, with a combined value of $US215 million. Over the last 12 months, Goodman has also started 5 new development projects with a total estimated completion value of $US255 million. Goodman has a 2 million ft² (186,000m²) China land bank capable of delivering 1 million ft² of prime warehousing space.

Goodman European Logistics Fund launches rights issue, group starts 3 new European projects

The Goodman European Logistics Fund launched a €400 million underwritten rights issue last week and an €800 million debt refinance package, ensuring the fund maintains its gearing below 40%. It will refinance €400 million of secured facilities and have a €400 million unsecured facility structured to allow the fund to transition to debt capital markets to diversify its long-term funding sources. Goodman Group chief executive & fund investment committee chairman Greg Goodman said the refinancing would also provide about €500 million of investment capability, giving the fund capacity to increase gross assets to €2 billion and improving financial flexibility. The fund is continental Europe’s largest unlisted logistics fund, with €1.6 billion of logistics assets under management and a weighted average lease term of about 5 years. In the last 3 weeks, Goodman has announced planning consent for a 12,000m² facility at its Thurrock commercial park in Essex for A&N Media, which will invest £50 million in the new plant; a 78,000m² logistics centre for e-commerce retailer Zalando at the Erfurt freight terminal in the centre of Germany, pre-leased on a 16-year term; and a 45,000m² design-build facility in Hanover for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – Goodman’s ninth German development this year.

Link: Goodman

New Woolworths chief ponders property float, Dick Smith options, multi-channel retailing

Woolworths Ltd’s new chief executive, Grant O’Brien, mentioned a float of the group’s multi-billion-dollar property portfolio in a wide-ranging investor briefing in Sydney on Wednesday.

The property float wasn’t mentioned in company releases and didn’t extend to more than 2 paragraphs in news stories from the briefing. Mr O’Brien raised it alongside a strategic review of the Dick Smith consumer electronics business, Woolworths’ intention to become Australia’s leading multi‐channel retailer and the opening of 61 new stores this year (a net 44 after closures to a total 117).

Mr O’Brien said he’d report further on the Dick Smith review at its half-year results in February. “Consumer electronics as a retail category has been experiencing significant challenges, particularly in relation to tightened customer spending on discretionary products, category deflation and the effects of the high $A.”

Dick Smith operates 386 stores in Australia & New Zealand, with 2011 sales up 4.2% to $A1.86 billion but ebit down 14.9% to $A26.8 million.

On becoming Australia’s leading multi‐channel retailer, Mr O’Brien said: “We are really seeing a revolution in retail as customers integrate mobile, social networking and other internet‐enabled technologies into their bricks & mortar shopping experience. It isn’t a question of online or offline, it’s about integrating the 2 seamlessly, and we are increasingly finding that our most valuable customers are ones who do both – for example, in our supermarkets business, customers who shop both in‐store & online spend 70% more than customers who only shop in‐store.”

Link: Woolworths

Valad resumes growth under Blackstone ownership

 

Valad Property Group – listed on the ASX until its takeover by Blackstone Real Estate Advisors LP in August – said on Friday it had bought a 6011m² light industrial park just north of Paris for €6.1 million for its Parc d’Activités fund, which invests in multi-let industrial estates, mostly in the Ile-de-France area. Valad’s 42 properties in France, worth €500 million, are held in 4 of its 15 funds.

Valad Property Group manages $A9 billion of property in 7 geographic regions, through 23 offices in 13 countries. Its core business is value-adding real estate, specialising in multi-let commercial & industrial property, with local asset management teams taking care of about 8500 tenants in 900 properties.

2 affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors completed their acquisition of Valad’s securities on 26 August 2011. The $A1.80/stapled security price was 56% above the closing price before Blackstone’s offer was launched, but about 33% below net portfolio value.

Valad’s results for the December 2010 half showed its predicament – gearing up to 51.3%, lenders willing to extend its $A200 million facility to the end of 2012 but an $A51 million net loss for the period.

 

Link: Valad Property Group

 

RICS weekly update

 

In this week’s edition, the RICS global real estate weekly focus is on:

Australian monetary policyEuropean monetary policyUS construction spending and new housing initiativesUK construction sentiment

Link: What’s new on RICS Global

Want to comment? Go to the forum.

 

Attribution: Compiled & story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Snapshot on world property, August 2000

28 August 2000

Major inner-city developments inSydney will all go through a design competition process if the city council does the expected tonight and okays a development control plan devised four years ago. Projects will need designs to be tendered from at least three firms.

Australian retirement home operator and developer Primelife Corporation increased revenue 21% to $A116 million and net profit 37% to $A20.8 million in the year to June. It claims 18% of the market in Australia and has a $A700 million expansion plan for the next five years after spending $A37 million for eight new development sites.

Equity Office Properties Trust’s operating limited partnership has issued $US300 million of eight-year exchangeable, unsecured senior notes to institutions, replacing other debt, paying at least 7.25% interest and more if the payout on Equity Office shares increases.

25 August 2000

Trans Tasman Properties’ Sydney-based offshoot, Australian Growth Properties, is under fire for outsourcing management and for not paying a dividend expected by minority investors. An examination of the outsourcing proposal will appear over the weekend.

Kerry Packer has asked Paladin Australia’s founder, Greg Paramor, to replace MTM Funds Management as manager of the MTM Office Fund, owner of Sydney’s new Citigroup tower. Mr Paramor sold half of Paladin to Norwich last year and Deutsche Asset Management has now taken it over. His possible new project is through James Fielding Investments, which he formed with Rod Leaver.

Ariadne Australia’s joint venture with Leighton Properties to build an $A150 million, 156-suite resort and 36 homes on Noosa Hill has been rejected by the tourist town’s council, on the grounds that it would be excessive and have detrimental impacts. The proposal would have been spread over 20ha. Noosa’s protection of its backdrop has held development back in the town.

23 August 2000

Soheil Abedian’s Sunland Group plans a 200m, 63-storey, 422-apartment block on the Northcliffe Beach front at Surfers Paradise as construction on the Gold Coast picks up again. The $A250 million tower will be built on land owned by the Anderson family between Gold Coast Highway and Northcliffe Tce, and running between Hamilton Ave and Clifford St, four blocks from the central Surfers shopping district. Construction is scheduled to start next year for 2004 completion. A 17-storey tower, with one apartment a floor, will also be built on the site. Price tags in the main block are likely to be in the $A2-500,000 range, with $A5 million tags on the penthouses.

19 August 2000

Kerry Properties, one of Hong Kong’s biggest unlisted developers, says the inability to capitalise interest on existing premises more than doubled its finance costs, from $HK94 million to $HK219 million, in the June half-year, helping to chop its earnings 9% to $HK603 million.

15 August 2000

US mortgage lender Freddie Mac will make its first issue in Europe next month, for E5 billion, with plans to issue E20 billion ($US18 billion) a year in a market opened up by governments trying to cut back debt.

14 August 2000

Macquarie Office Trust boosted net profit 26% to $A53 million in the year to June, on assets up 24% to $A824 million, including $A33 million of revaluations. NTA was up 6% to $A1.04. It took an overweight position in Melbourne, where market rents grew 32.5%.

A report compiled by Macroplan for Victoria’s Infrastructure Department says little has been done in the state to stop planning objections based on trade competition. It highlighted two attempts by Village and Hoyts to stop foreign competitor Reading from entering the cinema market, and objections by Westfield which delayed a competing mall development, even though it clearly met state, city and local objectives. The Macroplan report found evidence of big companies funding local groups and residents to object to competitors’ projects.

11 August 2000

Toys ‘R’ Us plans to build a 9300m² toy shop on Times Square in New York — and not just the world’s biggest toy store, they’ll need turnstiles to organise the crowds, with a stated expectation of 20 million visitors a year.

Talk in Sydney this week has Macquarie Bank taking 40% of Triden Corporation, then merging the Macquarie Industrial Trust with the $A600 million Goodman Hardie Industrial Trust, which Triden manages, to form an $A1 billion-plus industrial property trust.

Centro Properties Group raised net profit 29% to $A54 million in the June year and has raised its distribution by 5% to A23.9c a stapled security. Centro has boosted its asset management this year, running to listed retail trusts and three unlisted syndicates.

9 August 2000

Mirvac Group has made an $A950 million hostile scrip-based takeover bid for the diversified Advance Property Fund. St George recently doubled its stake to just under 20% of the fund, buying at $A1.50 compared to the $A1.64 value on Mirvac’s bid. A feature of the bid is that if Mirvac succeeds in getting 50% it proposes taking over management, without compensating the existing manager, St George’s Advance Funds Management.

8 August 2000

Equity Office Properties Trust’s EOP Operating Limited Partnership has completed the issue of $US360 million of 8.1% senior unsecured 10-year notes. The partnership will use it to pay down borrowings under its third amended and restated revolving credit facility, which had an outstanding balance of $US1 billion at 30 June.

Indonesia’s Bank Restructuring Agency (Ibra) will start a round of selling down conglomerates previously held by some of the country’s biggest business families, by offering Salim Group’s 108-company Holdiko Perkasa as one entity. It wants to recover 53 trillion rupiah. But more interesting to the property market will be PT Bentala Kartika Abadi (BKA), a group of 53 mostly property companies transferred to Ibra by Usman Atmadjaja, of the Danamon Group.

3 August 2000

Westfield Trust has produced a half-year operating profit of $A184 million, up 15.4%, with net asset backing up 6.5% to $A2.77 a unit, compared to an on-market price of $A3.31. Interim dividend of A10.97c a unit is up 3.1%.

Equity Office Properties Trust increased earnings before extraordinaries by 30% in the June quarter, to $US136.5 million. Funds from operations of $US203 million equated to 70c (64c a year ago) a fully diluted share on revenue of $US497 million. The trust, biggest in the US, has 9 million m² of office space in 382 buildings, which was 95.9% leased.

A five-year high in home approvals, ahead of the introduction of gst in Australia, has been followed by a 35% decline over the past five months, with a June fall of 18%.

Consolidated Properties of Queensland has beaten Ariadne Australia for a Brisbane waterfront site at 175 Eagle St, a remnant of Hammerson’s Australian portfolio sold down by AMP. Consolidated will take Credit Union Australia in as anchor tenant for its 18,000m² and $A90 million building, after stealing the credit union from Ariadne managing director Kevin Seymour, who has a private project planned across the road at 420 Queen St. Grocon is in a joint venture planning an $A150 million tower at 75 Eagle St.

1 August 2000

The Singapore Government has revamped its differential premium system to promote faster redevelopment, by giving a 50% discount on what developers must pay for a change of land use and floor area ratio on sites with restricted titles.

Westfield Holdings of Australia has signed a binding agreement to take 50% of £930 million UK mall owner MEPC in a joint venture, with additional features revealed at the weekend signing. Westfield has a £667 million option exercisable until 15 February 2001 to bring in another partner. It can also buy or place MEPC’s 50% in six centres and pass up buying three other centres.

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Snapshot on world property, week to 29 September 2002

23 September 2002

Goldman Sachs’ GS Capital Partners 2000 LP and Whitehall Street Real Estate Fund, and hotel & resort owner Starwood Capital Group’s SOF VI US Holdings LLC will pay nearly $US1.1 billion for the troubled National Golf Properties real estate investment trust and the outstanding equity of American Golf Corp, a privately held company which leases & operates nearly all National Golf’s properties. National Golf and American Golf own/lease/manage more than 250 municipal, daily fee, resort & private golfcourses & clubs with more than 50,000 members, mostly in the US but also in Britain, Australia & Japan.

Stadium Australia, owner of Telstra Stadium in Sydney, the main venue for next year’s rugby world cup (7 games next October), is technically insolvent after making an $A80 million loss in the June 2002 year. Liabilities exceed assets by $A82.6 million after $A66 million was lopped off the stadium’s value. The listed stadium owner remains alive only because the ANZ Bank has extended waivers on its $A131 million long-term debt. Telstra has a new 7-year naming rights contract. The stadium cost $A650 million to build for the 2000 Olympics but is valued now at only $A120 million.

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Snapshot on world property, week to 22 April 2001

Latest: Rayonier sells big forest acreage, Duke-Weeks signs $US149 million new business in first quarter.

17 April 2001

Rayonier has finalised an agreement to sell 23,000ha in north-west Florida to state agencies for a net $US58 million. Rayonier acquired the property, a link between conservation lands in Florida and Georgia, in 1999. Chairman, president and chief executive Lee Nutter said the sale fitted its strategy of selling 2-4% of its forests annually to capture appreciated value not reflected in the share price.

Duke-Weeks Realty Corp signed $US149 million of new developments, third-party construction contracts and one acquisition in the first quarter. The $US80 million of new developments, including two joint ventures with JP Morgan Investments, have an expected stabilised return of 11.6%. The six industrial, two suburban office and one shopping centre expansion cover 164,000m² of new work. The third-party work includes a 56,000m² warehouse for Liz Claiborne in Cincinnati. The $US15 million acquisition, the Camp Creek business centre, an industrial park in Atlanta, includes 37ha which can support 100,000m² of new development, and options on 142ha which can support 430,000m² of future development.

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Snapshot on world property, week to 31 August 2003

30 August 2003

Macquarie Goodman Industrial Trust has more than 90% of AMP Industrial Trust and will proceed to compulsory acquisition.

21st Century Resorts Holdings Pty Ltd, established by senior management at the Hamilton Island resort on the Great Barrier Reef, has made a new $A2.95/share offer for Hamilton Island Ltd which the Hamilton Island board expects to recommend. It tops an $A2.83/share offer from GPT Management Ltd and Voyages Hotels & Resorts Pty Ltd, which was to be considered by shareholders on Monday 1 September. 21st Century Resorts is supported by Reline Investments Pty Ltd, private investment vehicle of the Oatley family, who founded the Rosemount wine business, sold that & became a major shareholder in Southcorp Ltd.

Taubman Centers Inc, still subject to a takeover battle with Simon Property Group and Westfield America Trust, has agreed to sell its Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix, Arizona, to The Macerich Co for $US158.5 million, of which just $US100 million will be through the assumption of debt & acquisition of Macerich partnership units. Macerich owns another fashion mall in Phoenix.

29 August 2003

Westfield Holdings Ltd increased its profit after tax by 23.1% to $A288.4 million, fully diluted earnings/share 21.7% to A50.63c, on trading revenue up 19% to $A1.1 billion and earnings before interest & tax up 13.6% to $A401 million. Return on equity rose from 16.7% to 18.6%. The A13.55c/share final dividend is 50% franked and total dividends for the year are up 21.5% to A25.57c/share.
Details: Westfield Holdings boosts profit 23%

27 August 2003

Prime Retail Group, the convenience retail property trust which Centro Property Group manages, and Centro MCS, the syndication business Centro recently bought, plan to take 48.5% each in a US trust acquiring a $US488 million portfolio of 14 California retail properties. The other 3% will be held by Santa Monica company Watt Commercial Properties, which will share management with Centro. Centro chief executive Andrew Scott said high demand for retail property in Australia was making it harder for Prime to grow locally. This is Prime’s 1st big offshore investment. Initial gearing will be 58%. San Francisco-based M&H Realty Partners put 35 properties worth about $US1 billion on the market in June, planning to buy new centres to renovate. The 14 it’s sold are 6 neighbourhood, 6 community & 2 power centres, a total 313,000m² of retail floorspace, 98% leased, acquired at a 7.4% initial yield. Prime is raising $A162 million through placements & a rights issue.
Websites: Centro Properties Group
Prime Retail Group
Watt Commercial Properties

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Snapshot on world property, week to 10 December 2000

Latest: Keppel buys in Shanghai, Centrepoint profit up 29%, UK readmixer sells DIY chain, Balls plans international hotel expansion, Japanese retailer takes on UK, Amoy wins Kowloon site.

The Snapshots series have entered their third phase. It was obvious after a short period that, with too many items, they needed to be broken into monthly groups, at most. I’ve just counted the World Property items for November and found 51. So the next change is into weekly groups, along with the creation of an overall site Snapshot every week. Let me know if you think it’s good/bad.

9 December 2000

Keppel Land of Singapore has paid $S229.5 million ($NZ308.8 million) at $NZ3220/m² for three residential lots totalling 9.6ha in the prime Jingan district of Shanghai’s central Puxi. It will build about 3000 homes, aimed at Shanghai’s middle-income earners.

Singapore developer and investor Centrepoint Properties Ltd raised net profit for the September year by 29% to $S95 million on turnover up 46% to $S373 million, on full year’s earnings from the Causeway Pt shopping centre and Alexandra Techno Park block B. It did not recognise $S46.5 million of investment property revaluation gains in the result. Centrepoint’s next major project will be the 600-unit Compass Heights at Sengkang.

British cement and readymix supplier RMC has sold its Great Mills chain of 98 DIY superstores to Focus Do It All, owned by venture capital group Duke Street Capital, for £285 million ($NZ966 million). Others in the hunt were Home Depot of the US and Kingfisher. Great Mills made £25.3 million profit on £318.5 million turnover last year, a 7.9% net return.

British leisure and hotels group Bass plans to raise its profile internationally after collecting £2.3 billion ($NZ7.8 billion) from Inter-Brew of Belgium for its brewing business. Bass said it was in only 77 of the 200 resorts of the world and would increase representation of upmarket brands such as Inter-Continental. It would also seek opportunities in Europe and Asia for its Express and Holiday Inn hotels and spread its extended-stay Staybridge Suites concept through US franchising. Bass’ pretax profit for the year to September was £756 million ($NZ2.56 billion), turnover on continuing operations rose 22.8%, and operating profit on continuing operations rose 24.8%.

Aggressive Japanese clothing retailer Fast Retailing plans to open 50 stores in Britain, its first venture outside Japan. It has 465 stores back home, where it has been taking trade from Japan’s ailing traditional department stores.

A single bid of $HK2.58 billion ($NZ774 million) by Amoy Properties has won it a 20,200m² West Kowloon waterfront development site in the latest government land auction. Amoy plans to build an 18,600m² shopping mall, with eight towers of 41-42 storeys above it, containing 1700 residential units. Far East Consortium International paid $HK21 million ($NZ6.3 million) for a 2790m² residential lot in Sai Kung.

7 December 2000

The British Government has introduced the Homes Bill to speed up house sales, reputedly the slowest in Europe for a variety of bureaucratic reasons, end gazumping, give tenants more strength through a body corporate-styled “commonhold associations,” and curb landlord powers. A proposed seller’s pack, expected to cost £500-1000 a pop, must contain information about local body searches, planning permits and a house condition report — and it is proposed to be illegal to sell a house without one.

South Korea’s second largest builder, Dong Ah Construction, went into receivership last month after failing to pay interest for six months on 470 won of loans, but its share price leapt this week on reports that it’s discovered the wreck of the Donskoi, sunk during the Russia-Japan war a century ago with gold bars on board supposedly worth 150 trillion won. Dong Ah says it has a shipwreck, but hasn’t confirmed the ship’s identity.

In Pittsburgh, the Golden Triangle Community Development Corp has proposed turning 11,600m² of space above a department store and several other buildings into a technology incubator district, complete with cyber cafés and loft apartments, and with rent around $US10-12/ft² ($US107-129/m²). In a rather familiar tale, they were trying to save the buildings from the mayor’s now-defunct renovation plans. Both the department store and mayor were named Murphy.

SL Green Realty Corp has signed to sell the 633 Third Ave Condominium for $US13.25 million, three years after buying it in a four-building deal for $US9.8 million. The buyer, Joseph Nakash and Third Avenue Realty and Jordache Enterprises, gets 3770m² of ground-floor and concourse retail outlets at the base of a 41-storey Midtown Manhattan commercial condominium building. For condominium, read boutique/specialty/suite.

US reits (real estate investment trusts) are in their fourth-quarter dividend-declaring season, a period which seems to focus on the number of cents the biddies will get for Christmas. The focus is definitely not on percentages, and whether a share price is higher or lower seems irrelevant. They are, in effect, treated like bonds, with a proviso at the bottom of every statement saying their projections might not be fulfilled. The latest result comes from AMB Property Corp, an industrial reit which targets high throughput distribution (HTD) properties. Last month it added 83,000m² in 20 on-tarmac air cargo sheds at eight airports Federal Express occupies nearly 30% of its new space.

Cousins Properties and Prudential Insurance (holding 11.5% of a joint venture) have bought the 35,200m², 28-storey One Georgia Centre on West Peachtree St in Midtown Atlanta for $US35 million. It has a 1:30m² parking ratio, 1171 parking spaces on four basement floors and seven in a separate structure, and an adjacent site zoned for a similar-sized tower. Cousins’ property interests range across office, retail, medical and development.

Private Californian apartment investor Pacific Property Co has bought one 406-unit Santa Ana complex from the Pacific Gulf Properties reit for $US35.55 million and two from a San Francisco developer for $US24.35 million, taking its portfolio to 3600 units at a $US325 million cost. The value assessment is on occupancy (95% for one, 99% for the other two) and average monthly rent: $US888 for the Santa Ana one, $US1111 and $US1138 for the other two.

6 December 2000

Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee told the company’s annual meeting Hong Kong’s mass-residential market would stay flat next year, but the company will not slash prices on 2000 unsold units because to do so would jeopardise profits. Other big Hong Kong property companies, such as Sun Hung Kai, New World Development and Cheung Kong Holdings, are more optimistic about price rises.

Hong Kong’s residential development market will be tested this week with the auction of two properties in West Kowloon and Sai Wan Ho on Thursday and the tender on Friday of a Sai Kung property, expected to earn the Government $NZ1-1.6 billion. Developers have been cutting prices for months to achieve sales.

4 December 2000

Industry Superannuation Property Trust’s Riverside Corporate Park at North Ryde has been tipped in the Australian Financial Review as the site for Canadian internet and telecommunication company Nortel Network’s new Sydney headquarters — at least 25,000m² at rent exceeding $A300/m². Nortel would consolidate two existing Sydney properties there, but is also taking 8500m² in airport suburb Botany for Phototonics Technologies, its optical network components company. The other main competitor for the headquarters site was the redeveloping Pyrmont Peninsula.

Eight people died in the collapse of a popular shopping mall in Guangdong Province, China. The temporary single-storey building, erected over a drainage ditch, crumbled when two unauthorised extra floors were built on top by the tenant.

1 December 2000

Westpac Bank in Australia has handed over management of the Westpac Property Trust after the unitholders agreed to turn it into a self-contained property investment and management group. Shares in the manager have been stapled the existing units and the combined entity will be known as the Investa Trust Group. It will still earn most of its money from Westpac-related business, but has already launched one new fund, the $A43 million Collins Property Trust syndicate.

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Snapshot on world property, week to 4 February 2001

Latest: US Hilton sells Houston hotel, Grand Union supermarkets divvied up, apartment owner Camden raises earnings/share 9.4%, US property management software company expands to HK, marginal rise for United Dominion, big rise for Silicon Valley developer, apartment owner BRE improves 10.3%, improvement all round for Hospitality Properties, Infomart starts sixth technology community, 35% earnings rise for Duke-Weeks translates to 12.3%/share, TrizecHahn sells non-core, exiting Europe, sales way down for kitset home maker Fleetwood, portable storage a boon for Mobile Mini, FastOffice the latest idea at Equity Office, Westfield Trust continues growth.

4 February 2001

Hilton Hotels Corp has sold the 319-room Red Lion Houston Galleria for $US20 million, at $NZ140,890/room, to Westheimer Hotel LP.

The bankrupt Grand Union US supermarket chain has been broken up among a supplier and competitors, with Federal Trade Commission agreement. The supplier, C&S Wholesale Grocers from Vermont, has no history in retailing but bought 185 for $US301 million to hold on to a major customer. Local chains run by Royal Ahold of the Netherlands and J Sainsbury of Britain are among the other buyers.

3 February 2001

Camden Property Trust increased funds from operations in 2000 by 2.6% to $US156.3 million, but the gain per diluted share was up 9.4% to $US3.50, on revenue up 8.7% to $US403.5 million. Camden owns 145 apartment communities containing more than 51,000 units.

Cleveland-based property management software company Management Reports International has opened a Hong Kong office with intentions of expanding into China. It also has offices in Singapore and Sydney.

United Dominion Realty Trust reported fourth-quarter funds from operations up 3.2% to $US45.6 million. Funds from operations for the year, after litigation, organisational changes and sale of a land parcel, increased 1% to $US178.5 million on revenue down 0.3% to $US616.8 million. It sold 26 residential communities containing 5800 apartments at a cap rate of 9.3%.

Mission West Properties, which develops commercial research & development properties mostly in Silicon Valley, raised funds from operations by 46% to $US86.3 million last year, but 24.3%/share, off revenue up 34.8% to $US115.9 million. The trust increased space it owns by 16.8% to 576,000m², and average rent by 17.2% to $US1.36/ft²/month ($NZ394.76/m²/year).

BRE Properties, owner of 72 apartment communities with another 21 in joint ventures and 12 in development, increased funds from operations last year by 11.6% to $US123.4 million, but by 10.3%/share on revenue up 8.2% to $US253.4 million.

Massachusetts-based hotel investor Hospitality Properties Trust increased funds from operations 12.4% to $US218.7 million, or 4.6%/share to $US3.87/share, last year on revenue up 10.9% to $US263 million. On a “same-store” basis , comparing 200 of its 222 hotels, it increased the average daily rate by 2%, occupancy by 2.8% and revenue per available room by 4.8%. Fourth-quarter average daily rate rose 5.1%, occupancy 0.1%, and revenue/available room 5.2%.

Infomart, a Dallas developer of technology communities and telecommunications facilities, and Sarofilm Realty Advisors have bought 26ha in Greenspoint, Houston, to build an initial 10,000m² prototype building designed for telecommunications providers and internet firms, for completion in August. It’s Infomart’s sixth technology community and will eventually have five to seven similar buildings. Standard features include heavy floor loading capacity, high ceilings and extensive airconditioning. Infomart’s 150,000m² flagship building in downtown Dallas, modelled on London’s Crystal Palace, houses 3000 telecom and technology professionals in 100 companies. Infomart is developing a network, including one in downtown Los Angeles old post office.

Duke-Weeks Realty Corp increased funds from operations last year by 35.5% to $US317.4 million, 12.3%/share to US2.46c, Duke-Weeks is one of the biggest office and industrial property owners in the US, with 5000 tenants in 10 million m² of space, and 1660ha of undeveloped land. Same property net operating increased 4.24%. Developments under way are in three categories — 1.6 million m² worth $US645 million it plans to own indefinitely, $US288 million-worth it plans to sell within a year at an expected stabilised 11.6% return, and $US109 million of third-party construction from which it expects a 13.5% pretax profit margin.

TrizecHahn Corp has sold six non-core properties for $US417 million as it refocuses on the US office market and developing a global technology centre business. It has also signed letters of itent to sell three of its European properties and plans to dispose of its entire European portfolio.

Fleetwood Enterprises, biggest recreational vehicle maker in the US and also a big source of kitset homes (manufactured housing), had a 40% third-quarter revenue fall to $US510 million after a record 1999. Motor home sales fell 46% to $US148 million. Manufactured housing revenue fell 38% to $US251 million. Fleetwood has cut overheads, closed factories and stores, but expects to report a third-quarter loss in four weeks, and probably a fourth-quarter loss.

There’s a property company for everything: Mobile Mini Inc reported record fourth-quarter results with net income up 26% to almost $US4 million, and up 22% to US33c/diluted share. For the year, net income rose 40% to $US13.2 million on revenue up 35% to $US90 million. Its business? It has a fleet of 55,000 portable storage units and offices.

2 February 2001

Equity Office Property Trust piloted a ready-to-work office space alternative called FastOffice last year and has now launched it in 30 US locations, with 6000m² of space available. Customers can sign a licence agreement, and move in within days on leases of 18 months down to month-by-month. They get fully furnished suites equipped with phone lines, high-speed internet access and other office equipment and supplies. Average space taken is 200m². Equity Office also operates serviced offices and runs full-service business centres in many of its buildings.

1 February 2001

Westfield Trust, Australia’s biggest property trust with 39 shopping centres, including the 11 (two in joint ventures) of the former St Lukes Group in New Zealand, reported after-tax operating profit for the year to December up 38.6% to $A458.2 million on sales up 27.7% to $A710.4 million. Total assets are up 10.7% to $A8.15 billion, unitholders’ equity up 17.3% to $A5.3 billion, and net asset backing is up 4.8% to $A2.85/unit. The half-year distribution to unitholders is A11.14c.

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