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Ryman buys Wellington site from Foodstuffs for new development

Ryman Healthcare [NZX: RYM], the country's biggest listed retirement village operator and developer, has bought land in Wellington which it plans to turn into a boutique village.

The Christchurch-based company has bought a 6,000 square metre site in Newtown from supermarket operator Foodstuffs for an undisclosed sum, which it will develop into a new village with independent and serviced apartments, and resthome, hospital and dementia care, it said in a statement. The village will be Ryman's sixth in the Wellington area.

"It's a great site with terrific views across the city, and it is close to public transport, shops, and the hospital," managing director Simon Challies said. "Wellington has a rapidly growing ageing population in line with the rest of the country."

Ryman owns and operates 27 retirement villages housing 7,500 residents. Like other retirement village developers and operators, Ryman is looking to latch on to an ageing demographic, and has increased its annual building target to 850 beds and units a year in New Zealand by 2017, from a rate of 700 a year.

The shares were unchanged at $8.53, and have gained 8.7 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on six analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $8.25.

(BusinessDesk)