Australand sticks to business as usual as takeover talks continue

Australand chairman Olivier Lim told shareholders it is business as usual despite a possible takeover looming over the diversified property developer and investor.

Australand chairman Olivier Lim told shareholders it is business as usual despite a possible takeover looming over the diversified property developer and investor.

But in his speech on Monday in Sydney, managing director Bob Johnston warned that because of settlement timing in the residential and development divisions, the 2013 earnings would be skewed to the second half of the year.

Mr Johnston forecast the annual distribution per unit would be 21.5¢, unchanged from the 2012 year. Australand has a December 31 balance date.

Mr Lim said no formal offer had been made since the "indicative and non-binding approach" by rival GPT Group on December 10. That was pitched at Australand's investment property portfolio and commercial and industrial business and was a $140 million premium to the book value at June 30, 2012.

It was rejected as it was seen to undervalue the group and did not include the residential business.

Subsequent to GPT's action, Australand's majority security holder, CapitaLand, announced in January that it was reviewing its investment in Australand. That prompted Australand to establish a data room for a potential takeover or a deal with CapitaLand.

"The process is well under way and is being conducted in conjunction with CapitaLand's strategic review," Mr Lim said.

"The management team and our advisers are focused on bringing the process to a conclusion as efficiently as possible and we will advise the market of the outcome in due course."

Amid the review, Mr Johnston said 2012 was a challenging but successful year. He said the investment division had underpinned the group's overall earnings, with rents boosted by the redevelopment of 357 Collins Street, Melbourne, and Rhodes F in Sydney.

Australand's shares fell 9¢ to $3.52.

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