Published 4 May 2010
ASX-listed Charter Hall Retail REIT (ex-Macquarie CountryWide Trust) said yesterday it had completed the final phase of the $US1.3 billion sale of its US portfolio. It also produced an operational update for the March quarter.
Chief executive Steven Sewell said the sale fully eliminated $A1.38 billion of scheduled $US CMBS (commercial mortgage-backed security) debt maturities and resulted in $A226 million in gross proceeds available for reinvestment in the trust’s core market, Australia.
This phase released $A26.4 million of net proceeds, increasing cash reserves & undrawn capacity to $A142 million and reducing balance sheet gearing to 38.7%.
The net operating income guarantee negotiated as part of the disposal is due to expire in July 2012, and Mr Sewell said on current forecasts it was expected to result in a further final $US20 million payment from the purchaser.
The reit’s exposure to the US has been reduced to 49 properties and 20% of the trust’s book value. 57% of the trust’s book value is in Australia and New Zealand.
The trust’s assets are predominantly grocery-anchored shopping centres. It said in its quarterly report it completed 59 new leases & renewals in the quarter at an average rental growth of 2.1%. Occupancy in Australia & New Zealand was 98.9%.
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Attribution: Company release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.