Australian Unity Retirement Village Fund purchases first property

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Australian Unity's Retirement Village Property Fund has made its first purchase, the Geelong Grove Retirement Village in Grovedale, Victoria.

Australian Unity’s Retirement Village Property Fund has made its first purchase, the Geelong Grove Retirement Village in Grovedale, Victoria.

The Australian Unity Retirement Village Property Fund was established to provide investors access to the growing retirement village sector, supported by a leading property fund manager and well-credentialed retirement village operator. The Fund has been designed for institutional investors with a minimum investment of $5 million

Investment returns of four percent over the benchmark of rolling ten-year Australian government bond yields are targeted.

The Geelong Grove Retirement Village has 148 units with over 96 percent occupancy and was built in a number of stages from 1986, with a variety of indoor and outdoor community facilities.

Mr David Bryant, CEO of Australian Unity Investments (AUI), said that the Fund had been looking for a well established village with a proven return profile that met the needs of both institutional investors and Australian Unity Retirement Living, who will manage the village.

“The age of the village, resident profile and location were key criteria for the purchase and the experience of Australian Unity Retirement Living added great value in the search process.

“Geelong Grove Retirement Village is located where there is an established and growing demand for retirement living and as such, has excellent long term prospects.

“In addition to location, price, occupancy and future prospects, investors want to know that their asset will be well managed, which is another aspect of the synergy between AUI’s property management and Australian Unity Retirement Living.

“Investors can take comfort in the knowledge that the property will be well operated by Australian Unity Retirement Living, helping its capital growth.

“We are also currently in discussions to acquire another property for the Fund,” Mr Bryant said.

Mr Derek McMillan, CEO of Australian Unity Retirement Living, said that the close relationship between owner and operator provides a range of management advantages as well as enhancing the value of the property.

“Retirement villages, if managed well, offer a strong alignment of interests between residents and owners. We believe the provision of services and lifestyle increases resident satisfaction, which leads to higher occupancy, better yields and contributes to capital growth.

“Australian Unity Retirement Living now has over 60 years of experience in managing retirement communities, which will be a major benefit to Fund investors.

“As an experienced operator who cares about the quality of life of their residents and has the resources to deliver the services and facilities that residents require, we also provide value to our residents,” Mr McMillan said.

Australian Unity Investments is the funds management arm of financial services, health and retirement living services provider Australian Unity. It has $11.8 billion in funds under management as at 31 July 2011. Its investment approach is to use its established in-house expertise in property and mortgages while also forming joint ventures and strategic alliances with other organisations with specialist expertise.

Australian Unity Retirement Living owns and manages a range of residential communities for older Australians across Victoria and New South Wales. These facilities offer more than 1,610 home units, 451 aged care beds and 180 ambulatory and community care packages. The business approach is to support people in a range of accommodation settings by providing health, care and lifestyle services that support their personal and community wellbeing.

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For more information please contact:

David Bryant – 03 8682 4401
Derek McMillan – 03 8682 6201

7 September 2011