Property for Industry FY earnings fall 7.5%, upbeat on 2013

PFI will look at developing existing land and may sell non-core properties while buying in the main centres.

Property for Industry, the listed industrial property investor, reported a 7.5 percent fall in annual earnings as the company rejigged its portfolio with some asset sales and dealt with vacancies in the year, though management is optimistic about the coming year.

Distributable profit, the favoured measure for property companies because it strips out unrealised changes in the fair value of its portfolio, fell to $14.6 million, or 6.64 cents per share, in the 12 months ended December 31, from $15.8 million, or 7.21 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company says in a statement. That was in line with Forsyth Barr analyst Jeremy Simpson's forecast.

Net profit climbed 65 percent to $26.9 million on a $14.7 million gain in non-operating income, such as fair value gains on investment properties and derivatives. Revenue fell 4.9 percent to $29.4 million.

"Progress has been made repositioning the portfolio during 2012," general manager Nick Cobham says. "The acquisition of three significant industrial properties and disposal of selected non-core properties was complemented by more than 50 leasing transactions."

PFI will look at developing existing land and may sell non-core properties while buying in the main centres.

Mr Cobham says there is "considerably more optimism" last year than in the prior three or four years, with increased investor activity.

The board declared a fourth-quarter dividend of 1.85 cents per share with imputation credits of 0.3038 cents, with a record date of March 4 and payment on March 13. That takes the annual payment to 6.6 cents per share, and the board expects the 2013 return to be between 6.6 cents and 6.9 cents.

The stock fell 1.6 percent to $1.24 on Friday, and is rated an average 'underperform' based on five analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters with a median target price of $1.14.

PFI's property portfolio was valued at $382.2 million as at December 31, a 3.3 percent gain, and will increase to $397.2 million once it settles an acquisition in Auckland's Mt Wellington in the first quarter of this year.

Occupancy rose to 97.4 percent as at December 31 from a year earlier, while the weighted average lease term was extended to 4.8 years from 4.17 years.