ING Property Trust - interim profit increase
Auckland • Tuesday 28 November 2006
ING Property Trust announces interim profit increase of 27%
Listed property trust ING Property Trust (the Trust) has recorded an unaudited pre-tax profit of $22.0 million for the six-month period to 30 September 2006. The increase of 27% over the previous six-month period reflects the excellent progress made on a number of strategic initiatives.
As at 30 September 2006, the Trust comprised 95 properties with a total property value of $922.3 million (made up of investment properties, properties intended for sale and other property investments). This is an increase of $41.1 million from 31 March 2006. A significant event during the period under review was the joint venture acquisition of a 70.4 hectare land bank in Palmerston North. This is a significant step in providing a pipeline of new build development opportunities for the Trust. North East Industrial Limited (“NEIL”)
In July 2006, the Trust acquired a 50% interest in NEIL, which owns 70.4 hectares of industrial zoned land in Palmerston North. The Trust has identified Palmerston North as rapidly becoming the distribution centre for the central and lower North Island. The value of the NEIL assets at acquisition was $60.4 million. This includes a combination of fully serviced undeveloped land (acquired at $75 sqm), two recently completed investment buildings and one investment building under construction. As part of the deal, the vendors have agreed to pay the Trust income of 8.0% on the bare land until it is fully developed. The Trust also has a put option to return any undeveloped land to the vendor after seven years. Leasing deals are close to being concluded for three new buildings at the property, which has now been branded Manawatu Business Park.
The investment buildings and building under construction include: • A brand new, state-of-the-art distribution centre for Ezibuy. The building covers 24,000 sqm and has a stud height of 13.4 metres. A new 10-year lease was put in place in March 2006. The property generates a rent roll of $1.9 million per annum and was purchased for $20.5 million, which equates to a yield of 9.0% • A brand new multi-tenanted building with leisure related uses. A new 12-year lease was put in place in April 2006. The property generates a rent roll of $0.4 million per annum and was purchased for $4.3 million, which equates to a yield of 9.4% • A new warehouse and office building is currently under construction for Allflex (NZ) Limited. The building is due for completion in February 2007 and it will have a 10-year lease commencing from completion. The property will generate a rent roll of $0.2 million per annum and was purchased for $2.4 million, which equates to a yield of 9.0% Single property acquisitions In addition to the NEIL acquisition, the Trust has continued to acquire single asset properties through on-market and off-market transactions. During the period, three properties that will strengthen and enhance the quality of the Trust’s portfolio were acquired for $52.7 million. These acquisitions include: • A new 17-unit food and service orientated convenience retail centre located next to the Telstra Clear
Pacific Events Centre at 792 Great South Road, Auckland, for $16.4 million; • A commercial office property in the Auckland CBD occupied mainly by IBM, which settles in December 2006, for $24.5 million; and • A new-build logistics distribution centre tenanted by United Carriers in Whangarei, with 4,800 sqm of expansion land, which settles in February 2006, for $11.8 million. MCB-100445-1-D156-V1 Trading profits Since inception the Manager has, and will continue to, take an active approach to managing the property portfolio. This includes the recycling of capital by way of asset sales when it is determined that value has been maximised, or the future return/risk profile of an asset does not meet the Trust’s criteria. Over the period, a soon-to-be-vacated retail property in Rotorua was sold for $2.9 million, its current book value.
The Trust has recently sold 110 Stanley Street for $6.1 million. The sale settled on 15 November 2006 and has realised trading gains of $1.8 million after the allowance for disposal costs. This property was disposed of at 48% above book value. As at 30 September 2006, a total of 14 properties remained on the disposal list, although 110 Stanley Street was subsequently sold. The value of all 14 properties at 30 September 2006 was $52.1 million. Portfolio development
Management also continues to explore other innovative ways of improving the quality of the property portfolio by leveraging those properties in the non-core portfolio. The reinvestment of capital into the existing portfolio continues with two major refurbishment and redevelopment projects, being the Bunnings distribution centre in East Tamaki and West Auckland’s Waitakere Plaza Mega Centre project, completed over the period. A further six projects are underway, including the $6 million extension of an industrial building in East Tamaki. Once the extensions have been completed, a new 15-year lease will commence.
The vacancy rate for the portfolio remains at under one percent and the tenant retention rate has been maintained at over 95%. This reflects the consistent nature of the portfolio, as well as the superior level of service provided by the Trust’s property managers. In addition, 23 new leasing and 53 rental reviews were completed over the period. The rental reviews account for a total of $1 million of additional rental income at an average increase of 9.0%. The average lease term for the entire portfolio has been maintained at 4.8 years.
At the Annual Meeting of the Trust held on 30 August 2006, unitholders voted unanimously for the resolutions put forward by ING Property Trust Management Limited (INGPTML), designed to significantly strengthen the Trust’s corporate governance practice. The main changes include allowing unitholders to participate in the appointment of the independent directors of the board of INGPTML and the increased ability for unitholders to request the Manager to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Trust. The Board of the Manager has also decided to appoint a different auditor to that appointed by the Trust to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. These changes create a new benchmark for the governance and stewardship of listed property trusts in New Zealand. Dividend Reinvestment Plan
The Trust has implemented a dividend reinvestment plan (DRP), which took effect from the March 2006 distribution. The DRP provides the opportunity for unitholders to increase their investment in the Trust at a small discount to the current trading price, with no brokerage fees payable. The plan has been well supported to date. Calan Healthcare Properties Trust In August, it was announced that the directors of the Trust had agreed with the directors of the Calan Healthcare Properties Trust to investigate a potential merger of the two portfolios. As at the date of this release, these discussions are continuing. Income distribution
On 17 November 2006, the Trust announced it will pay a gross interim dividend of 2.50 cents per unit for the September quarter containing imputation credits of 0.35 cents per unit. The record date for the dividend is 1 December 2006 and the payment date is 15 December 2006. Under the terms and conditions of the Dividend Reinvestment Plan, a discount of 2% will be applied in the calculation of the strike price for this distribution.