Property and construction giant Lend Lease is set to bag a significant windfall gain after the group announced the sale of one of its major shopping centres in the United Kingdom.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, the company said it will book an after tax net gain of $A480 million after entering into a $A1.221 billion agreement to sell its interest in the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent and sundry land rights interests associated with the centre to London based Land Securities for £656 million and £40 million respectively.
As a result, and also a result of a number of smaller accounting adjustments associated with other projects which are not performing and have been earmarked for restructuring or exit (see below), the company now expects to earn a net profit after tax in 2013/14 of between $A810 million and $A830 million – up around 45 percent from the $551.6 million in 2012/13.
Built on the site of a former derelict chalk quarry in the mid-1990s, Bluewater now sits on 240 acres surrounded by parks and lakes and boasts 330 stores, 13,000 car parking spaces and more than 55 bars, restaurants and cafes.
It is visited by around 28.1 million shoppers and diners each year.
Lend Lease Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Steve McCann welcomed the sale, saying the proceeds will initially be used to pay down debt and subsequently support the Group’s investments including significant London based urban regeneration projects such as Elephant & Castle and The International Quarter.
“Bluewater is an exceptional asset and a tremendous demonstration of Lend Lease’s capabilities as a retail developer and manager,” McCann said.
“This is an outstanding sale outcome which has realised considerable value for security holders at this time in the cycle.”
In addition to the sale of Bluewater, Lend Lease also announced other adjustments on projects it set were not achieving targets, all of which the group intends to restructure or sell.
These include the Crosby apartment portfolio in the UK (A$29 million post tax), the PFI Global Renewables Project in Lancashire (A$16 million) and three community projects in Australia (A$40 million) – the first two of which the company intends to exit and the third in which it intends to restructure and possibly exit.