Kiwi property executive Angus McNaughton leapt out of the reject bin on Monday to become chief executive of the $A22 billion Vicinity Centres Group, the entity resulting from the merger of Federation Centres and the Novion Property Group.
Mr McNaughton, who’d been chief executive of Novion, was dropped from the executive lineup in the June merger as Federation chief executive & managing director Steven Sewell took charge.
However, on Monday chairman Peter Hay announced the exit of Mr Sewell and immediate replacement by Mr McNaughton. Mr Sewell had already been dropped from the Vicinity board because of a limit of 8 directors.
Mr McNaughton spent 14 years at Kiwi Income Property Trust, 6 as chief executive of its management company, leaving for Singapore in 2008 in a step up within the Commonwealth Bank’s property group as head of the Sandalwood joint venture between Colonial First State Global Asset Management & Jones Lang LaSalle. From there he moved to Sydney as head of the bank’s wholesale property funds.
When Commonwealth decided to internalise management of its 3 property funds in 2013, a joint venture between Dexus Property Group & the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board took over the Commonwealth Property Office Fund, Kiwi Income Property internalised then corporatised as Kiwi Property Group Ltd, and Colonial First State property became Novion late last year, with Mr McNaughton as chief executive.
On the other side of the Vicinity merger, the Centro Properties Group expanded rapidly through to 2007, building a large US retail portfolio on top of its Australian business. As a consequence of the global financial crisis, Centro sold its $US9.4 billion US portfolio in 2011 to BRE Retail Holdings Inc, an affiliate of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI LP, and survived in Australia through a scheme of arrangement with creditors. Mr Sewell took charge in 2012 and Federation emerged as the new name in January 2013.
The group (still called Federation) will release its annual results on Wednesday 19 August and will formally change its name to Vicinity Centres at the annual meeting in October.
Novion originated in 1994 as the Gandel Retail Trust, and the Gandel family remains closely involved in the business. The family jointly owns the Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne, now with Vicinity, 4 family trusts hold 8.56% and John Gandel, who’d been the major shareholder at Novion, holds a total 13.8% interest & 2 board seats.
5 institutional holdings accounted for 69% of stapled securityholders listed immediately post-merger.
Mr Sewell was chief executive of Charter Hall Retail REIT (ex-Macquarie Countrywide Trust) for 5 years and national head of property management for QIC Property before taking on the rescue of Centro. He chairs the Shopping Centre Council of Australia.
The merged group owns & manages 102 Australian shopping centres. It announced the sale of one on Monday, the Queensland convenience centre Lutwyche City, to Abacus Property Group & Zenonos Group for $A65 million, and opens a new bus interchange & taxi rank at Chadstone today, the first step in the $A600 million redevelopment of that centre. The interchange will give shoppers a central point to access the centre from a network of 14 bus lines connecting to the suburban train network and Melbourne’s east & south.
Chadstone will also get 2 new parking areas in November, a 10-storey office block in mid-2016 and, in late 2016, a new retail precinct incorporating a Hoyts digital cinema complex, 2 dining precincts & over 100 retailers, including at least 3 new international flagship stores.
The group received planning approval from Monash City Council at the end of July for the $A500 million redevelopment of the co-owned Glen shopping centre.
Link: Federation Centres
Attribution: Company releases.