NPT sells its interest in Auckland high-rise to SkyCity

The interest has been sold for $47 million.

NPT, the listed property investor, has sold its interest in the AA Centre in central Auckland to SkyCity Entertainment Group for $47 million, as it looks to reposition the business after a board overhaul.

"The sale of this property represents a first step on the path to repositioning NPT," said chair Bruce Cotterill. NPT overhauled its board after shareholders voted to reject a proposal to hook up with larger property investor Kiwi Property Group in April, and instead favoured a proposal by rival property company and cornerstone NPT investor Augusta Capital to block the deal and appoint three new directors to the board.

NPT's board has undertaken a thorough review of the FY18 business plan and Cotterill said directors will update shareholders on a proposed strategy in the coming weeks. The sale proceeds "will be used to invest in the purchase of assets where we can see an opportunity to add value," he said.

The AA Centre is located on the corner of Albert and Victoria Streets and connects to SkyCity Auckland via a through-site link. NPT's interest in the building includes 15 levels (12,000 square meters) of commercial office space, ground floor retail, the through-site link and 90 car park spaces. The remainder of the interest in the building (namely two levels of office space, additional ground floor retail and a small number of car park spaces) is owned by the New Zealand Automobile Association, SkyCity said.

SkyCity said the purchase price represents approximately a 7 percent yield on the income from the property and the "acquisition is expected to be marginally earnings accretive for SkyCity from FY19 and funded from existing bank facilities."

The casino operator said the deal is part of a plan to exert greater control over its Auckland footprint the a view to create "opportunities for further hotels, apartments, food & beverage outlets, entertainment facilities and office spaces, with the aim of having a cohesive and integrated mixed-use entertainment precinct, and will ensure that SkyCity leverages the benefits of the increased pedestrian traffic flows anticipated following completion of the City Rail Link."

Settlement will take place in July 2018.

Under the agreement, NPT is required to complete capital improvements to the building, which were commenced prior to the agreement being signed. The estimated cost is $2 million.

After allowing for these capital improvements, this transaction will increase NPT shareholder equity by $2 million over the figures reported in the audited financial statements to March 31, said Cotterill. According to NPT's annual report, the AA Centre has a market value of $40.85 million.

"We have achieved a very good price, as compared with current book value, and the nine-month settlement period allows us to maintain current profit and distribution forecasts through to 31 March, 2018 while we progress the board's broader plans for NPT," he said.

NPT shares rose 2.6 percent to 59 cents and have fallen 12 percent over the past 12 months. SkyCity gained 0.3 percent to $3.75 and have fallen 16 percent over the past year.


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