Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Kiwi Income Property Trust makes pitch to US investors

Kiwi says it will finalise plans this year for LynnMall.
Kiwi says it will finalise plans this year for LynnMall.

Americans have heard how the strong New Zealand economy and big demand for commercial and retail property are driving growth at this country's wealthiest internally managed listed landlord.

Kiwi Income Property Trust, with $2.2 billion of assets, a $1.3 billion market capitalisation and ranked top 15 on the NZX50 Index, has released a 47-page document from a presentation at a US investor roadshow that took place from Tuesday to Thursday.

Kiwi cited its under-developed $206 million Auckland LynnMall as a property where this year it would "finalise plans for the development of an entertainment and leisure precinct", and how it was fixing earthquake problems and selling properties in an active acquisition/divestment strategy.

The presentation gave details of the big seismic upgrade needed to its Majestic Centre Wellington tower, to be completed in August. Kiwi is spending $67 million upgrading Unisys House at 56 The Terrace where a new 18-year Crown lease was negotiated.

Eleven shops at its Christchurch mall Northlands in Papanui were shut after the earthquakes but are now reopened and the landlord is recycling capital by selling Auckland's twin-towers 205 Queen St to Asian investors, pocketing $47.5 million for the first 50 per cent in January, then a further $56.3 million this month.

The 22-level DLA Phillips Fox Tower and the 17-level National Bank Tower were declared in the US presentation to have been sold to Auckland City Holdings, "associated with Brisbane-based Bloomberg Incorporation", although Overseas Investment Office approval released in March showed Indonesian and Singaporean interests as the ultimate owners.

"The sale is in line with the strategy of recycling capital to maintain balance sheet flexibility," Kiwi said in the presentation.

Kiwi was upbeat about its operating environment. "The economy is growing and business confidence is positive. Property sector fundamentals are positive, underpinned by rental growth prospects," said the document, which carried the names of chief executive Chris Gudgeon, chief financial officer Gavin Parker and investor relations manager Mathew Chandler.

Kiwi projects a 6.50c a share distribution in 2015, subject to a continuation of "reasonable" economic conditions and said Auckland CBD office supply showed a static situation before some new A-grade projects were finished next year.

Morningstar's Tony Sherlock said last month investors willing to accept some capital volatility but attractive distribution yields should consider the stock. Kiwi had a high occupancy, long weighted-average lease expiry and a high degree of medium-term income certainty, Sherlock said.

Morningstar has an accumulate rating on the business.

Jeremy Simpson of Forsyth Barr said Kiwi provided a low-risk exposure to the sector, with its portfolio of large prime Auckland retail and office assets spread across a substantial tenant base.

NZX-listed units in Kiwi closed down 1.5c yesterday at $1.14.

- NZ Herald

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