Interim Announcement To NZSE/ASX
Interim Announcement To NZSE/ASX
Kiwi Income Properties Limited, the manager of Kiwi Income Property Trust, announced today a tax paid profit for the six months to 30 September 2002 of $22.1 million, representing an increase of 4.2% over the same period last year. This is a strong result as the profit for the same period last year included income from two non-strategic assets that were later sold.
The Trust will pay a gross interim dividend of 1.765 cents per unit, comprising 1.477 cents per unit in cash and imputation credits of 0.288 cents per unit. Together with the special interim dividend that was paid on 31 July 2002, the total gross dividends for the six months to 30 September 2002 will be 4.635 cents per unit (including imputation credits of 0.598 cents per unit).
The 4.635 cents per unit compares with a gross dividend of 5.460 cents over the same period last year. However it should be noted that an additional 54.6 million units are participating in this current dividend that were not eligible last year. These were Class B units that converted to ordinary units in December 2001.
As at 30 September 2002, the Trust had total assets of $875 million, largely unchanged from its 31 March 2002 position of $880 million. Debt has decreased from $257 million as at 31 March 2002 to $195 million at 30 September 2002.
The fall in the debt ratio from 29.3% to 22.4% was brought about by the rights issue, which raised $69.4 million for the Northlands development, and $10.3m received from the unconditional sale of Alcatel House on Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour in September 2002 (book value $10.25m). The reduction in debt results in the Trust having a more flexible capital structure to manage the redevelopment of Northlands.
Management has had significant success with leasing over the past six months with high occupancy levels across the portfolio. This achievement has been supported by a strongly performing New Zealand economy and the strategy of focusing on well located quality assets.
The Trusts’ retail portfolio continues to perform solidly. Annual sales increased by 7.5% with specialty sales up 6.5% on the previous year. While net rental income was down 1.7% to $14.9 million, as a result of tenancy remixes being completed at The Plaza and Centre Place, the outlook remains very positive.
Occupancy levels in the retail centres stood at 99.0% by 30 September, illustrating the strong demand from tenants for space in quality retail assets.
Northlands was the strongest performing centre in the retail portfolio with annual specialty sales growth of 11.9%. The $90.9 million development of the Centre commenced in October 2002. Northlands is located to the north of Christchurch on a major arterial route, in one of the fastest growing areas of the city. Once completed in 2004, Northlands will be the largest enclosed shopping centre in New Zealand. The lettable area of the Centre will almost double in size, from 20,785 square metres to 40,700 square metres. Trading will continue throughout the phased, eighteen month development period. The main construction contract is currently being finalised.
Five major retail tenants will be the anchors for the centre, being Farmers, Pak ‘N Save, The Warehouse, Hoyts Cinemas and Countdown Supermarket. Fifty specialty stores, in addition to the seventy currently on the site, will complete the Centre. Leasing of the specialty stores has been progressing in line with Management targets.
The first half of the 2003 financial year continued a very sound commercial leasing market in the major regions. Real rental growth was evident in Christchurch and Wellington, while Auckland enjoyed buoyant commercial property investment conditions.
The Trust’s income from the commercial portfolio was $20.7 million, representing an increase of 1% over the same period last year. On a “like for like” basis, the actual increase in commercial property income is 6.1%.
As at September 2002, the Royal & SunAlliance Centre in Auckland was 100% leased when two New Zealand owned businesses signed up for the last remaining space. The Majestic Centre, Wellington, was also 100% leased for the first time since the building was constructed in 1991. IBM has leased two floors and INL one floor.
With the exception of half the top floor of the PricewaterhouseCoopers building in Christchurch, and around 2,000 square metres of space in Auckland’s National Bank Centre (50% owned by the Trust), all of the Trust’s commercial property is now leased. The vacancy rate for the commercial portfolio is now only 1.1%, compared with 4.5% at 31 March 2002.
The Trust also completed a full listing on the Australian Stock Exchange during the period. The Trust previously maintained a Foreign Exempt Listing.
In summary, Management’s concentration on leasing over the past six months has paid dividends with minimal vacancy now existing across the portfolio. This leasing activity, supported by a robust New Zealand economy, places the Trust in a strong position going forward.
next six months Management will continue its active leasing
strategy together with exploring value adding opportunities,
both across the existing asset base and the wider market.