Precint Properties see higher earnings

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 12:30 08/11/2012

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Listed commercial property owner and developer Precinct Properties has increased its guidance for the 2013 financial year following its purchase of an Auckland mall and increasing its overall occupancy.

The company was previously known as AMP NZ Office until it changed its name in September. Earlier in the year it told shareholders it expected full year earnings to be 5.7c per share before performance fees for the year ending June 2013.

Today at its annual general meeting in Wellington, chief executive Scott Pritchard told shareholders they could now expect 5.12c a share.

‘‘In the last year we have leased, extended or renewed around 16 per cent of the portfolio,’’ Pritchard said, with occupancy now at 94 per cent up from 90 per cent two years ago. ANZ recently committed to four floors at its 171 Featherston St, Wellington, property on a twelve year term, with naming rights.

‘‘One key factor driving this growth has been the improved operating market in Auckland also helped by the continued flight to quality here in Wellington.’’

In the past year, it has sold Chews Lane at Wellington, capital that it recycled into its campus style upgrade of Bowen House that it paid $50.4m for. Pritchard said it was in talks with a government tenant who could lease around 60,000sq m in the development which would have two new buildings and two existing properties redeveloped.

It spent $90 million purchasing Auckland’s downtown shopping centre in a deal that settled in October. The property sits strategically between several of its existing properties including Zurich House, PWC tower, ANZ Centre and AMP Centre.

The local council in Auckland is looking at building a rail link that would run directly underneath the site, which appealed to Precinct for its proximity to existing public transport including the nearby ferry building, bus terminal and Britomart train station. It sees the site as a potential place for future office development, with retail a low priority but likely to remain at ground levels.

Precinct recently secured a new $125m tranche of bank funding expiring 2017, taking its total gearing to 31.5 per cent which it said was well within its 50 per cent allowance.

Its new name had been well-received by the market. Chairman Craig Stobo said he personally liked it a lot. ‘‘It signals more clearly that we are an independently run company... We wanted to help address confusion between ourselves and [50 per cent shareholder] AMP. Our new moniker is more appropriate and we see it as a natural evolution that reflects the way our business has grown and matured.’’

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Precinct Properties employs 27 staff and owns 16 properties total valued $1.42 billion. Its shares were up 0.5 per cent to $1.03 this morning.

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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