Westfield NZ boosts dividend to Australian shopping mall owners

Payment grows by about two-thirds after the sale of three properties and benefits.

Westfield NZ Holdings, which owns nine shopping centres in New Zealand worth $2.8 billion, increased its dividend to its Australian owners by about two-thirds last year after selling three properties and gaining tax benefits.

Westfield paid $97.6 million in dividends in the year ended December 31, 2012, according to the company's financial statements. That is an increase of 64 percent from the $59.6 million dividend paid for the 14 months to December 31, 2011, they show.

Westfield NZ, the local unit of the world's biggest shopping mall operator by assets, sold three malls last year, helping boost the fortunes of Westfield in Australia. During 2012, the company gained $252.8 million from the sale of its Westfield Downtown, Westfield Pakuranga and Westfield Shore City malls.

Profit in 2012 rose 51 percent to $564.8 million, boosted by tax gains. Rental income slid 3 percent to $311.8 million while expenses dropped 1.7 percent to $80.9 million.

Westfield NZ booked a $380.3 million tax benefit as it gained $226.2 million from the release of deferred tax on the loss of tax deduction for building depreciation, $174.1 million from the release of deferred tax on property revaluations and $35.9 million from the release of deferred tax on investment property disposals.

The company says its properties increased in value by $9.1 million in 2012, compared to a $49.1 million drop in value in the year earlier period.

Westfield NZ is jointly owned by Australia's Westfield Group and Westfield Retail Trust. The trust was spun off from Westfield Group in December 2010 to take half ownership of its Australasian malls.

New Zealand represents 8 percent of Westfield Retail's $A13.5 billion shopping mall portfolio.

(BusinessDesk)

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