Westfield’s forgotten NZ unit boosts underlying earnings in 2013

Westfield Pakuranga
Andrew Harmos, Scentre Group
Westfield Retail Trust 12-month price history (ASX.com.au)

The $2.8 billion of local shopping malls owned by Australia's Westfield Group [ASX: WRT] barely got a mention in the 423-page document for the company's restructure but accounts filed in New Zealand show earnings of $165.8 million in 2013.

The malls which dominate the New Zealand shopping scene were lumped in the Australasian business for the rundown on the restructuring approved by investors in Westfield Retail Trust on Friday.

The company's New Zealand malls at Albany, Glenfield, Manukau, Newmarket, St Lukes, West City, Chartwell, Queensgate and Riccarton, along with its malls in Australia, will be owned by a company called Scentre Group from June 25. Auckland-based businessman and NZX chairman Andrew Harmos is on the board of Scentre Group.

Westfield NZ Holdings reported net profit of $165.8 million in the year to Dec. 31, 2013, down from $564.8 million the previous year when it booked a massive $380.3 million gain from deferred tax losses, according to accounts filed to the Companies Office. Profit before tax of $202.5 million, was up from $184.5 million in 2012.

In 2013, Westfield faced an income tax expense of $36.7 million. Property was revalued upward by $34.5 million compared to a $9.1 million lift last year.

The new restructuring splits the business empire built up by the Sydney-based Lowy family into international and Australasian units. Previously the New Zealand unit was part of Westfield Retail Trust, which was spun off from Westfield in 2010.

The documents for the latest restructuring did forecast income of $195.8 million in the 2014 financial year for the New Zealand assets.

The New Zealand accounts for 2013 show rental revenue of $286.6 million, down from $311.8 million in 2012.

Westfield's ASX-listed shares rose 0.6 percent to A$10.88 yesterday, and have gained 7.8 percent this year.


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