Australian Unity Investments (AUI) has re-opened the Office Property Fund to investment, and will also offer a capped withdrawal opportunity for redemptions from the Fund. The Fund had been closed to investments and withdrawals since 2008.
AUI acquired the Fund from Investa Property Group late last year and, at that time, stated a main priority was to re-open the Fund for new applications as well as improve distributions and provide liquidity for investors.
The Fund is now open to both new and additional investments, allowing AUI to raise new equity for the Fund, attend to investors’ liquidity needs and take advantage of suitable acquisitions for the Fund.
Additionally, a $3.7 million withdrawal offer will open on 1 June 2012. Investors can request a withdrawal of some, or all, of their investment which will be met on a pro-rata basis in the event of over-subscription. The withdrawal offer will close on 22 June 2012.
Mr Mark Pratt, AUI’s general manager – property, mortgages & capital markets, said that since taking over the Fund from Investa last year, AUI has been actively managing the Fund in order to meet its commitments to investors.
“For example, we have secured a number of positive leasing deals which have improved the Fund’s future cash flows. In addition, distributions from the quarter ended 31 December 2011 have increased from 1.50 to 1.75 cents per unit. The distribution yield is now at an attractive 7.8 per cent per annum*.
“With vacancy rates across most Australian office property markets now at or below historic averages, we believe the commercial office property sector is likely to continue performing well.
“There has been a low level of new office development over the past three years, as developers have had to deal with high debt costs and stringent lending requirements from banks. As a result, the limited office property supply should lead to rental growth or cushion rents from falling if demand softens,” Mr Pratt said.
Mr Mark Lumby, AUI’s head of office and industrial property funds, said that AUI will continue to work hard to optimise the Fund’s lease profile and capital growth prospects.
“Part of our leasing activity is to undertake appropriate property refurbishments, working with existing and prospective tenants to ensure properties remain attractive to their businesses.
“We’ve undertaken several refurbishments recently, including upgrading the environmental and energy ratings of an office building in Canberra and updating the public areas of a property in Brisbane, which will aid in attracting quality tenants.
“As well as helping to ensure the continuation of existing leases, we also anticipate that property improvements from capital expenditure will be reflected through increased property values over the long term,” Mr Lumby said.
A new Product Disclosure Statement and a withdrawal booklet for the Fund are available at www.australianunityinvestments.com.au/opf.
Australian Unity Investments is the funds management arm of Australian Unity – a national healthcare, financial services and retirement living organisation. A mutual organisation operating for over 170 years, Australian Unity provides services to some 600,000 Australians, including 325,000 members.
Australian Unity Investments has $12.3 billion in funds under management (as at 30 April 2012), and offers a range of investment funds in domestic and international equities, fixed interest, mortgages and property. Its investment approach is to use its established in-house expertise in property and mortgages while also forming joint ventures and strategic alliances with boutique asset managers.
The property funds management business has over $1.6 billion in funds under management (as at 30 April 2012). Its unlisted property funds and syndicates own more than 60 properties in the healthcare, retail and commercial sectors, in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
For more information please contact:
Mark Pratt – Phone: 03 8682 4448
Mark Lumby – Phone: 02 9256 8762
*Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.