The Shareholders' Association has questioned why listed property specialist Augusta Capital is filing its annual result on a Friday after 5pm but Augusta's chief says it simply ran out of time.
In a regime where many companies file at 8.30am the situation was unorthodox, said Michael Midgley, chief executive of the shareholder activist group. "Not a great look. It's unfortunate they found it necessary to choose that time."
But Augusta's Mark Francis said: "It's literally just because we need the time."
Augusta, subject of an on-off-on takeover offer from Centuria Capital, will announce its March year-end result this evening after switching the date earlier this week.
Francis said today: "We have Augusta and Asset Plus board meetings on Friday and wanted the result out before Centuria issue their takeover notice on Monday. It's nothing more than that."
Augusta's result will show a $27m net loss after tax due to valuation writedowns, according to information released to the market by the company last month.
Augusta, which manages 71 properties worth $1.83 billion, was due to release the result some weeks ago but got a waiver to delay that until Monday next week.
But on Tuesday, Augusta chief financial officer Simon Woollams told the NZX that next Monday had now been switched to the end of this week - Friday.
It's not the only switch-aroo surprise from the Augusta camp lately: ASX-listed Centuria Capital made a takeover offer for the Viaduct-headquartered business but got cold feet when Covid-19 hit so pulled back, then suddenly said this month it was all back on again.
Asked why it was late anyway with the March 31, 2020 result this week, an Augusta spokesperson said this week: "We did not seek the waiver. It was one that NZX granted to all listed companies to allow them an extra month to release their results in light of Covid-19 and its impact. A number of companies are relying on it – see Fisher & Paykel Healthcare for example."
On May 5, Augusta released an investor presentation with its capital-raising proposal where it revealed expected FY20 adjusted funds from operation would be "around breakeven and FY20 net profit after tax loss of $27m, primarily impacted by fair value decreases to investment property".
It outlined there how Covid-19 had caused it to withdraw its Augusta Property Fund offering and ditch its planned purchase of the Albany Lifestyle Centre, which resulted in it losing its $4.5m deposit.
The $27m loss was primarily due to the fair value reductions to tourism assets as investment property, a shareholding and loss of deposit on the Albany Lifestyle Centre, Augusta revealed on May 5.
It plans to continue to target new opportunities, but it said that would be in a tougher market environment. Stability was required to execute new fund offerings, including tenant performance and valuation certainty, it said.
Investor appetite before the coronavirus disruption had been strong, driven by investors seeking yield in a low interest rate environment. But the long-term fundamentals of property investment remain strong, the presentation said.
Asked what could be expected in today's announcement, an Augusta spokesperson said: "We announced our expected results in the capital raising presentation released on the NZX, so there's nothing new here – it's just releasing the audited financial statements, annual report and commentary as required by the listing rules."
The year-end result comes as Augusta's takeover was announced, then withdrawn, then reignited.
On March 26, as New Zealand entered alert level 4, Augusta announced that Centuria was terminating its bid implementation agreement announced on January 29 and will not be proceeding with its takeover bid "at this time. Augusta has no further information regarding the termination at this time but will update shareholders".
But then suddenly, the Centuria deal went back on in the middle of this month, offering $1 a share for the 76.7 per cent it doesn't already own - half the per-share amount it was prepared to pay in January, but Augusta's issued shares have expanded about 88 per cent following its May capital raising.
As with the earlier bid, the new offer is a mix of cash and Centuria's stapled securities, but unlike the previous offer, Augusta's shareholders don't get a choice: the new offer is 20 cents cash and 0.392 Centuria securities per Augusta share.
Asked about the on-off-on takeover this week, an Augusta spokesperson said: "It was put on hold in the middle of Covid. As Centuria said, they "never really went away."