Tag Archives | Augusta

Augusta to settle Cook St deal today

Augusta Capital Ltd said yesterday its transaction to buy 54 Cook St, at the top of the Auckland central business district, was unconditional and would settle today.

After leasing the former Radio NZ studios building to tourism company Jucy Group Ltd in September, Augusta decided to buy the building from the Augusta Value Add Fund No 1 Ltd to seed a tourism fund.

Jucy will operate a Snooze hotel business at the Cook St building. It’s better known operation is the Jucy rental vehicles business.

Augusta said it could proceed with the latest transaction, the purchase of the last unsold property held by the value–add fund, after the last condition, on the cost estimate, was satisfied.

Earlier stories:
23 October 2018: Fund shareholders approve sale to initiate Augusta tourism fund
24 September 2018: Pod hotel the opportunity for Augusta to close value-add fund with strong return and open tourism fund

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Fund shareholders approve sale to initiate Augusta tourism fund

Augusta Capital Ltd said on Friday the shareholders of Augusta Value Add Fund No 1 Ltd had approved the sale of 54 Cook St, at the corner of Nelson St at the top of the Auckland cbd, to the Augusta Capital group.

The transaction is one of a series of events following the lease of the building to Jucy in September. First, the building would be transferred from one entity to another under Augusta’s control, and that will seed a tourism fund.

The transaction remains conditional on obtaining a satisfactory cost estimate from Augusta’s quantity surveyor by this Friday.

Managing director Mark Francis said if the sale proceeds, settlement should occur on Wednesday 31 October.

Link:
24 September 2018: Pod hotel the opportunity for Augusta to close value-add fund with strong return and open tourism fund

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Asset Plus (ex-NPT) slashes debt, poised to invest

NZX-listed Asset Plus Ltd – the former NPT Ltd now managed by Augusta Capital Ltd – has reduced its total debt to $14.45 million after banking the return from its sale of the AA Centre in Auckland.

Asset Plus repaid $34 million of debt after the $47 million sale of the AA Centre to SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd. Its total debt includes a $2.5 million deferred tax liability and $1.4 million of current liabilities.

From a debt:equity ratio of 48.3% at the 31 March balance date, and 55.8% a year earlier, the ratio pro forma at the end of July was 12.6%.

The company’s remaining 3 investment properties were valued at $123.3 million at 31 March – $58 million for the Eastgate shopping centre in Christchurch, $27.3 million for the Heinz-Wattie warehouse in Hastings and $38 million for the Roskill Centre in Auckland – and showed a passing rent yield of 6.93% & market cap rate of 7.49%.

Augusta managing director Mark Francis, presenting the manager’s report to the Asset Plus annual meeting last Friday, gave a 5-point investment mandate:

  • Target assets for their ability to contribute to a yield-plus growth orientation
  • Wide-ranging diversified, value-add strategy that is sector agnostic
  • Geographical capability to invest in major regions, with a focus north of Taupo
  • Seek assets capable of benchmark outperformance through active management & development, and
  • Poised to take advantage of inevitable changing economic conditions.

He said the overarching strategic objective was to:

  • Close the NTA (net tangible asset) gap by resolving existing asset issues and restoring faith in Asset Plus asset valuations through active management, and
  • Create sustainable shareholder growth through disciplined acquisition.

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Augusta expands its portfolio platform, a different way of managing & seeing property investment

Augusta Capital Ltd talks of new directions in its annual report, and managing director Mark Francis (pictured) gave some details on that approach when he spoke at the company’s annual meeting in Auckland last week.

One is for the parent company to take a stake of 7.5-10% in funds it establishes. Most syndicators of the past aimed for a complete selldown.

A second is to lift its working capital to support the launch of new initiatives, including funding property deposits & initial fund establishment costs. It’s already done this, and has both backed its investments by taking up a share of underwriting and used its resources to secure investments without having to rely on the subsequent selldown.

A third is the intention to list funds, such as its industrial property fund. That’s a feature of creating a portfolio platform – syndicates (which are distinctly different from the buy-&-hold investments of the past; these ones increasingly have potential for additional development or other remodelling and are likely to be sold before the syndication term is up), investments in other listed entities, the first of those being Asset Plus Ltd (the former NPT Ltd), the new listed funds, new ventures into tourism & residential, and portfolios for wholesale & institutional investors.

And a fourth is to take its approach to Australia, where its investments so far have been in Queensland.

Guy French-Wright, who was development manager for a Melbourne-based wholesale property fund manager, Quintessential Equity, before coming to Auckland for 18 months as Augusta’s chief operating officer, is returning to Melbourne with a role, in Augusta chief executive Mark Francis’s words, “of being our eyes & ears to invest throughout Australia”.

Mr French-Wright worked in Melbourne for 15 years before his Auckland stint, including 5 years with Salta Properties leading commercial development and another 5 years at Mirvac as commercial development director.

66% jump in directors’ fees explained

At the annual meeting, shareholders approved a 66% increase in the pool for directors’ fees, from $334,000 to $553,000/year, with only a 2.45% vote against. Company chair Paul Duffy said the fees had been stable since 2014 and commented that, after he joined the board in 2015, “it’s not wise to come on and immediately increase the fees”.

Mr Duffy said the fees set now were “market or slightly under. I give you a commitment that we won’t increase fees for 2 years”.

That said, he also made a couple of points about the listed property sector and the search for suitable directors. In a comparison with much of the listed property sector, he commented that “we’re not just a rent collector, we’re a fund manager” and returned to the topic later, saying the typical approach was for “the management to deliver basically a fait accompli, and look what happens. That’s what happened to Fletcher Challenge [in its new guise as Fletcher Building Ltd, where the board didn’t have the backgrounds or expertise to see through what was being presented to it].”

After proposing this fee increase, Mr Duffy said he’d discussed it with the Shareholders Association, corporate investors & some smaller shareholders.

“We’re not a normal property company. We’re not just a rent collector, we’re a fund manager. We’re probably more suited to the investment category (on the NZX), and the directors’ role is much more than I had at DNZ (now Stride).”

Mr Duffy said Augusta, now almost completely out of direct property investment (its final payment from sale of the Finance Centre in Auckland is scheduled for next year), managed over 60 syndicates & funds. Parent company directors played a role in every one, especially on due diligence – and Augusta has turned syndication from the buy-&-hold model to the buy-improve-&-trade model.

Mr Duffy said getting the right remuneration was important in attracting the right board candidates. At the lower board fees of the last 4 years, “I wasn’t getting the right traction, the right people,” he said.

Directors also get fees for conducting due diligence – a maximum $10,000, mostly $5000. Mr Duffy said he’s given the Shareholders Association a commitment that he’d monitor those fees.

Renamed NPT part of a growing platform

Listed company NPT Ltd, renamed Asset Plus Ltd, in which Augusta holds an 18.85% stake, has become part of Augusta’s portfolio platform, alongside its industrial property fund, which it would also like to list in due course.

Augusta managing director Mark Francis said Asset Plus was “essentially a debt-free company holding 3 assets” – the Eastgate shopping centre in Christchurch, Heinz Wattie national distribution centre in Hastings and 22 Stoddard Rd shopping centre in Mt Roskill, Auckland – and its first investment under Augusta management needed to be “a good one, the right one”.

Another Augusta fund, the Value Add Fund No 1, was created in 2016 for wholesale investors. It’s sold 4 of its 5 properties, leaving what is now called Hangar 54, at the corner of Cook & Nelson Sts in Auckland, looking for tenants following asbestos removal.

The fund has returned 72.75% of its equity to shareholders and is debt-free, and Augusta is discussing Hangar 54’s sale with a buyer.

“We intended an internal return on assets of 11-14%,” Mr Francis said. “It was set up as a 5-year fund and will be rounded out after 3 years.”

Links:
Augusta Capital
Asset Plus

Attribution: Augusta annual meeting, annual report, website.

Continue Reading

Augusta registers St Georges Bay Rd syndication offer

Augusta Capital Ltd has registered the product disclosure statement for its offering of $68.5 million of equity in a new single asset fund which will acquire 96 St Georges Bay Rd, at the foot of Parnell.

Augusta managing director Mark Francis said today the company expected the offer to open on Wednesday 18 July, once the Financial Markets Authority’s waiting period has ended, and close on Tuesday 18 September. Settlement is now expected to occur on Friday 28 September.

The $68.5 million to be raised is fully underwritten. Augusta Capital has underwritten $24.5 million and third parties the balance. Augusta will receive underwriting & offeror fees under the offer, as well as an ongoing management fee once the single asset fund is established.

96 St Georges Bay Rd is a brand-new 5-level A grade office building developed by Mansons TCLM Ltd. The fund will acquire the 11,083m² building for $116 million. On a 10.89-year weighted average lease expiry, the initial yield would be 6.47%.

Mansons has signed up Xero Ltd for 2 floors, and Independent Liquor (NZ) Ltd & Harrison Grierson Group Ltd for one floor each. A small amount of level 1 & the ground-floor retail, which have no tenant signed, will be leased by Mansons for a 9-year term

A copy of the product disclosure statement is available on the Disclose register at https://disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/ by searching “Augusta St Georges Bay Road Property Trust” under “search offers”.

Earlier story:
6 May 2018: Augusta single-asset fund to buy new Mansons Parnell building

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Augusta industrial fund closes oversubscribed

Augusta Capital Ltd confirmed yesterday that the Augusta Industrial Fund closed oversubscribed with $75 million raised.

Managing director Mark Francis said the acquisition of the initial properties in the portfolio was to be settled later in the day.

As part of the capital raising, Augusta Capital has subscribed for 7.5 million shares and intends to hold a 10% stake as a long-term investment.

Mr Francis said a limited number of investors were reinvesting their funds from other Augusta-managed properties which have sold and would settle in the next month. As a result, Augusta will hold a limited number of shares for the next 2 weeks and then transfer to those investors.

He also said Augusta had received a large number of applications at the close.

The initial portfolio consists of 12 Brick St, Henderson; 862 Great South Rd, Penrose; 20 Paisley Place, Mt Wellington; and The Hub, Seaview, Wellington.

Together, that initial portfolio will have the following key features:

  • a weighted average lease term to expiry of 8.7 years
  • 100% occupancy
  • a diversified mix of 15 tenants, and
  • a 60% weighting to the Auckland industrial market.

Augusta will receive establishment & underwriting fees in connection with the offer as well as ongoing management fees consistent with the NPT Ltd management agreement, which Augusta entered in March.

Image above: 862 Great South Rd, Penrose, back on to Auckland’s Southern Motorway. The area marked in green will be redeveloped.

Earlier stories:
25 May 2018: Transformation hits Augusta bottom line, but confident company lifts dividend
1 May 2018: Augusta industrial fund set to open next week
27 March 2018: Augusta settles NPT management rights payment
12 March 2018: Augusta gets agreement to add 4th building to industrial fund
2 March 2018: Augusta delays industrial fund launch to get fourth property in

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

NPT scores miserable result, adopts Augusta strategy of repositioning assets

NPT Ltd, which has struggled to gain either critical mass or momentum since its inception as a listed trust in 1994, reported a miserable annual result yesterday, as shareholders’ funds again declined.

The answer is to adopt the more aggressive style of its new manager & 18.85% shareholder, Augusta Capital Ltd: buy properties to reposition, redevelop & lease – and sell rather than remain a passive investor.

Once its $47 million sale of the AA Centre to SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd settles in July, NPT will be down to a portfolio of just 3 properties worth a combined $124.6 million – the Eastgate shopping centre in Christchurch, 22 Stoddard Rd retail centre in Mt Roskill, Auckland, and Heinz Wattie’s national distribution centre in Hastings. The company sold Print Place in Christchurch in March for $8.25 million – 25% less than its $11 million carrying value.

Augusta also started life as a small portfolio owner and was destined to stay that way unless it changed its strategy. It’s sold down all but the remaining 2 parts of the Finance Centre in Auckland (scheduled to settle on 1 April 2019), and now manages $1.85 billion of assets held by syndicates & NPT.

Without the $4.5 million sale of its management rights to Augusta, right on balance date, NPT would have struggled to make a profit. Including those management rights, its net profit after tax was $3.095 million – $22,000 more than in 2017.

NPT chair Bruce Cotterill said in the company’s annual results announcement yesterday revaluations had reduced net tangible assets by $2.95 million ($1.65 million last year). In both 2017 & 2018, NPT paid out about $5.8 million in dividends. Shareholders’ funds have dropped by $5.5 million in 2 years, and just under $20 million in the last 3 years, to $114.3 million.

Mr Cotterill, appointed independent chair in April 2017 when Augusta staved off Kiwi Property Group Ltd’s bid for control, said operating earnings for the 12 months to March 2018 were consistent with the previous year, but revaluations & the $2.97 million loss on disposal of assets had reduced net tangible assets by 2.3%.

“We are confident that the position of the existing portfolio is now sustainable & positioned for value add-related growth moving forward.

“With Augusta, the board have now identified a defined value-add strategy in which the company will seek to acquire properties with the potential to reposition, redevelop & lease; all with the aim of creating future value. The future strategy differentiates NPT from the sector and provides a framework for relative outperformance,” he said.

Other points from the annual result:

  • Net operating income after tax, down 1.4% to $5.8 million ($5.88 million)
  • Adjusted funds from operations up 4.1% to $6.15 million ($5.9 million)
  • Gearing (loan:value ratio) 26.6% (33.1%)
  • Net tangible assets/share 70.6c (72.3c)
  • Basic & diluted earnings/share up 1c to $1.91
  • Portfolio occupancy 97.4% (96%) due to higher occupancy at Stoddard Rd and the sale of Print Place
  • Weighted average lease term 4.4 years (4.6 years)
  • An unchanged final quarter dividend of 0.9c/share has been declared; total dividends paid for the year are also unchanged at 3.6c/share; payout ratio is 95% based on adjusted funds from operations of $6.15 million

Earlier stories:
27 March 2018: Augusta settles NPT management rights payment
21 March 2018: Francis talks about a livelier future for NPT
20 December 2017: NPT accepts 25% cut to sell Christchurch property
15 October 2017: SkyCity buys AA Centre to consolidate precinct control
28 August 2017: Cotterill sees opportunity for NPT as tenants quit

Attribution: Company release, presentation, annual report.

Continue Reading

Transformation hits Augusta bottom line, but confident company lifts dividend

Augusta Capital Ltd continued its transformation in the year to March from being a direct property investor towards its aim of becoming New Zealand’s leading & most diversified property funds management specialist.

One impact was the 80% drop in revaluation gains to $799,000 ($4.12 million the previous year). Those gains are unrealised, but are a handy prop for company results as the market rises.

Key points from the financial year to March:

  • Total assets under management grew 10% ($168 million) to $1.85 billion – 99 properties
  • Total comprehensive income for the year, net of tax, fell 60% to $3.2 million ($8 million) due to lower investment property revaluation gains & the deferral of the Augusta Industrial Fund launch date
  • 14% reduction in adjusted funds from operations (non-GAAP measure) to $5.8 million, equating to 6.6c/share (7.7c/share).
  • Exit of 2 Finance Centre assets – 2 remaining properties settle on 1 April 2019
  • 3 new single-asset funds launched, raising $125 million of equity
  • 23% growth in recurring annualised base management fees, which are now $6.96 million
  • New funding structure executed, which is now aligned to the company’s future strategic direction
  • Net assets/share reduced to 96c (98c), primarily driven by the writedown in value of NPT shares
  • Basic & diluted earnings/share fell 60% to 3.67c (9.15c)
  • Increased stake in NPT to 18.85% and then secured the NPT management contract
  • Invested in specialist talent to support business growth & new fund initiatives
  • 4th quarter dividend of 1.5c/share, supported by the increase in recurring earnings.

Reflects transformation stage, says Duffy

Augusta chair Paul Duffy said the result reflected the nature of a business in the late stages of a significant transformation: “The total comprehensive income after-tax result is also symptomatic of the fact Augusta is progressively selling down all directly held properties from which the company’s revenues have historically been derived. The result should reflect the bottom of a transition cycle to establishing a more resilient earnings profile from a greater pool of Australasian-based property funds.

“The board believes this is a tipping point in terms of transitioning Augusta’s earnings. The volatility we’re seeing here has been well signalled previously, but the recurring annualised earnings continue to grow. 2 new funds have also been added to the managed portfolio, as well as 3 new single-asset vehicles.”

Managing director Mark Francis said the total comprehensive income after-tax & AFFO performance was impacted by the deferral of the Augusta Industrial Fund launch as a fourth asset was secured and more time was taken to allow for the capital raising. The income derived from establishing the fund will be recorded on settlement, expected to be 15 June.

“The prior year also reflected valuation gains at the Finance Centre based on the contracted sale terms, and the remaining assets are held at similar values this year net of transaction costs.

“The long-term growth fundamentals are encouraging. The resilience being built into Augusta’s earnings is critical to the future of the business.

“Encouragingly, we realised just over 10% growth in funds under management during the period under review. The pipeline has been created and we are actively pursuing a number of investment opportunities in the Australian market too.”

Rental income reduced due to the sale of Augusta House in July but this was offset by income derived from warehousing the Hub asset for the Augusta Industrial Fund.

Funds management

Mr Francis said: “The income benefits derived from the progress made this year will be realised in future income years. Momentum has continued with 2 new funds added to the managed portfolio, broadening our product offerings.

“Often in the funds management industry costs are incurred before the wealth is created for both the investor & manager. Corporate costs increased as we sought the necessary capability to grow & source new opportunities.”

Investment asset income of $1.77 million was realised from positions taken in the Augusta Value Add Fund No 1 Ltd (Value Add Fund) & NPT Ltd: “This income replaced the loss of rental income from the Finance Centre divestment. Income derived from capital investments & commitments was stronger in the 2018 financial year through active use of the balance sheet, at the same time maintaining capability to facilitate new deals.”

Balance sheet transformation

Augusta now has a new funding structure consisting of 3 facilities aligned to the new balance sheet – property, investment & funds management (working capital). It can also source further funding for warehousing of assets or underwriting of offers.

Following the divestment of the Finance Centre, capital will be released to grow the funds management business, and will include:

  • Acquisition or launch of new fund management initiatives
  • Warehoused assets – prior to the transfer to a managed fund
  • Underwriting capability in respect to new offerings or capital raises, and
  • The ability to invest in new products or investments which Augusta manages to create an alignment of interests.

Group gearing was 31.2% of gross asset value (26.6%).

Dividend

The board resolved today to pay a fourth quarter cash dividend of 1.5c/share, up from 1.375c in the December quarter. It’s fully imputed with credits of 0.583c/share attached. Dividends for the full year total 5.625c/share (5.5c/share in 2017). The dividend pay-out ratio was 85% (71%). The board expects the 2018-19 dividend to be 6c/share, up 9.1%.

Outlook

Mr Francis said earnings would reflect the strong start to the 2019 financial year, based on the current pipeline of opportunities: “The challenge remains in sourcing compelling product for our investors, but Augusta is as well placed as anyone to do this. Current market conditions remain buoyant, with deals continuing to be transacted at historically low yields.

Near-term strategic operating priorities include:

  • Settlement of the Augusta Industrial Fund on 15 June
  • Launch of the 96 St Georges Bay Rd offer, which will be a single asset vehicle
  • Launch of further investment funds, details to come
  • Identifying further capital sources & distribution channels
  • Further expansion into Australia, and
  • The sale of the final 2 assets of the Finance Centre transaction will be complete in April 2019, providing further balance sheet capability.

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Augusta single-asset fund to buy new Mansons Parnell building

An Augusta single-asset fund will syndicate ownership of a new office building which Mansons TCLM Ltd is 2 months from completing at 96 St Georges Bay Rd, at the foot of Parnell.

Augusta Capital Ltd said on Friday its subsidiary, Augusta Funds Management Ltd, had entered into an unconditional agreement to acquire the 5-level A grade office building. Under the agreement, an Augusta fund will ultimately acquire the 11,083m² property for $116 million, which represents a 6.47% initial yield based on a 10.89-year weighted average lease expiry.

Mansons expects to reach practical completion in July and has signed up Xero Ltd for 2 floors, and Independent Liquor (NZ) Ltd & Harrison Grierson Group Ltd for one floor each. A small amount of level 1 & the ground-floor retail, which have no tenant signed, will be leased by Mansons for a 9-year term.

Augusta Funds Management intends to raise the required $68.5 million of investor equity in $50,000 units through the new fund before the forecast 30 August settlement date, subject to practical completion having occurred. Augusta Capital will underwrite $24.5 million of the equity-raising and will also receive offeror fees. The balance has been underwritten by third parties.

Augusta expects to open the offer at the end of June.

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Augusta industrial fund set to open next week

Augusta Capital Ltd subsidiary Augusta Industrial Fund Ltd has registered the product disclosure statement for its $75 million equity-raising to acquire its first 4 industrial properties.

The initial portfolio is valued at $118 million, putting the debt ratio at 36.4%. Augusta Capital, the NZX-listed promoter, intends to take at least a 10% stake.

Augusta has assumed a 6.5% gross return (before depreciation & tax) will be paid. That’s supported by the forecast operating earnings and represents a payout ratio of 95-100%.

Managing director Mark Francis said today the offer was expected to open next Tuesday, 8 May, once the Financial Markets Authority’s waiting period has expired, and close on Monday 11 June. Settlement is scheduled for Friday 15 June. Oversubscriptions won’t be accepted.

Augusta Capital has underwritten $35 million of the $75 million to be raised and third parties have underwritten the balance.

The initial portfolio consists of 12 Brick St, Henderson; 862 Great South Rd, Penrose; 20 Paisley Place, Mt Wellington; and The Hub, Seaview, Wellington.

The product disclosure statement says Augusta Industrial intends to grow the asset base to about $250 million over the next 2-3 years and maintain a gearing target of 35-40%. Once that asset level has been reached, Augusta intends to apply to list the fund on the NZX main board.

A second equity raise of $90 million has been assumed on 1 April 2019, along with $52.425 million of debt drawn to facilitate the purchase of $135 million of additional property & associated costs.

Initial portfolio features:

  • A weighted average lease expiry of 8.7 years
  • 100% occupancy
  • A diversified mix of 15 tenants, and
  • A 60% weighting to the Auckland industrial market.

Mr Francis said Augusta would receive establishment & underwriting fees, and ongoing management fees consistent with its new NPT Ltd management agreement.

Link: The product disclosure statement can be opened on the Disclose register at https://disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/ by searching “Augusta Industrial Fund” under “search offers”.

Earlier stories:
12 March 2018: Augusta gets agreement to add 4th building to industrial fund
2 March 2018: Augusta delays industrial fund launch to get fourth property in
9 February 2018: Augusta gets one tick for new fund, one more to go
24 January 2018: Augusta wants syndicate approval to add third property to new industrial fund
29 December 2017: Augusta gets some remodelling for second industrial fund property
13 December 2017: 
Augusta buys Wellington property as seed for new industrial fund

Attribution: Company release, product disclosure statement.

Continue Reading