Four top New Zealand valuation practices have refused to put new numbers on a commercial and retail investment property portfolio previously estimated to be worth $160 million, baulking at the effects coronavirus is having on the markets.
Asset Plus, the NZX-listed entity connected to fellow-listed Augusta Property, this morning announced that property experts could not do their job.
"Representatives of the Colliers, CBRE, Savills and JLL Valuation teams met to review approach and process regarding March 31 financial reporting valuations in light of the rapidly evolving Covid-19 situation and the uncertain market conditions," the statement said.
Ongoing local and global Government policy making meant markets were changing by the day.
"Given this unprecedented situation and the timing, we have formed a collective view that we are unable to provide a final and definitive opinion on values until after the March 31 valuation date," Asset Plus said.
Asset Plus previously told investors that its portfolio of four properties was valued at $160.7m. It had 67 tenants, a 98 per cent occupancy, a weighted average lease term of 3.1 years and expected net rental income of $10.5m for the 2020 financial year.
Bruce Cotterill, Asset Plus chairman, and Mark Francis, Augusta Funds managing director, released today's unsettling statement.
Augusta - itself the planned target of a takeover by an Australian company - is the manager of Asset Plus.
Asset Plus owns the Auckland Council Service Centre at 35 Graham St in Auckland, Christchurch's Eastgate Shopping Centre and a shopping centre at 22 Stoddard Rd in Mt Roskill.
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The Asset Plus share price is down, trading at 51c, down on the 60c earlier this month.
The company released draft valuations in its investor presentation this month and planned to raise $100m capital to expand vastly.
But it has delayed that yesterday, telling the NZX: "In light of the current volatility of capital markets and the current trading price of Asset Plus shares, the board has decided that it is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders to withdraw the $100m rights issue that was due to open on Thursday [today]".
The company is the smallest NZX listed property stock but it had announced big plans and to transform itself.
It plans to build Auckland Council's new northern hub headquarters behind the Mitre 10 MEGA at Albany and adding an extra three floors to 35 Graham St in Auckland's CBD.
Final property valuations are now expected to be released with the full year results for the year to March 31.
"Until final valuations are made available by Asset Plus, shareholders should not place undue reliance on the draft property valuations referred to in the investor presentation given the draft nature of those valuations, the now redundant purpose for which they were disclosed and the rapidly evolving Covid-19 situation which is impacting market conditions," the company said today.