Australian Unity Sells 50% of Sub Regional Centre to ISPT
Australian Unity has confirmed the sale of its 50% interest in Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre to its co-owner ISPT in a deal of around $150m. Australian Unity first announced it's desire to sell its position almost 12 months ago and proceeded to short list counter parties in November 2018, however pre-emptive rights are likely to have delayed the sale process and concluded with ISPT agreeing to acquire the 50% stake.
Australian Unity has managed the centre in a wholesale trust since 1998, during which time it has transformed the centre from a convenience-based centre to sub-regional centre in a 50/50 joint venture with Coles following the acquisition of vacant land adjoining the centre.
Australian Unity then spun out a 50 per cent stake in Waurn Ponds to ISPT for $63 million in 2014. Over the past four years, the Australian Unity's half interest has increased in book value from $59.5 million to $140 million in 2017 based on a cap rate of 5.75%.
The centre is anchored by a Coles, Kmart, Target and Woolworths, Reading Cinemas and about 133 speciality retailers. The Centre is located at the intersection of Princes Highway and Pioneer Road, seven kilometres from the Geelong central business area . The region’s steady population growth and the continued residential land sub divisions close to the Centre have provided the base for an ongoing sales growth for its retailers.
Australian Unity recorded a 9.8% lift in unit price in November 2018 following the initial round of sale negotiations on the Centre and have since confirmed that the the sale to ISPT is reflected in the revised unit price, suggesting that ISPT have paid around $150M for the 50% interest.