DataRoom AM: QIC's office perk

Queensland Investment Corporation’s hefty sale of a Sydney office tower is another sign of the sector gaining pace, while the race for SAI Global may be nearing the finish line.

The action in the property sector is not confined to constant talk of housing bubbles as Leighton Holdings presses forward with the sales of Leighton Properties and a majority stake in Devine, while Frasers Centrepoint looks to secure control of Australand. However, it is a record office tower deal that is drawing attention this week.

Elsewhere, there’s no shortage of interest in the auction of Menora Foods, the battle for SAI Global edges towards a conclusion and Ezidebit gears up for an ASX listing.

Queensland Investment Corporation’s Global Real Estate business has, as expected, wrapped up a $555 million deal that will see REST Industry Super claim ownership of 52 Martin Place in Sydney, according to Bloomberg. The deal is a sign of a strengthening office property market as the transaction is the largest seen in the sector in five years.

The price for the 36-storey tower, home to Seven Network’s Sunrise program, represents a strong result for QIC after it paid just $172.2m to Stockland in 2011 to claim the 50 per cent of the building it did not already own. QIC’s Steven Leigh reportedly said the deal has been made to rebalance the weightings in the fund that held the property and is well-timed given current demand for “investment grade stock” is as “strong” as he has seen.

Meanwhile, the race for SAI Global is nearing a conclusion as the takeover target engages with first round bidders this week. According to The Australian Financial ReviewThe Carlyle Group has been the only firm to throw its hat in the ring to top a joint offer from Pacific Equity Partners and KKR for the whole business. However, there is the possibility of SAI’s three divisions being hived off separately, potentially leaving a number of firms still in the running.

In the IPO market, electronic payments firm Ezidebit is planning to hit ASX boards later this year, hiring Deutsche Bank and Macquarie Capital to manage a listing. The AFR reports that the Dempsey family, who own the business, will likely retain a significant stake post-listing.

Elsewhere, dairy isn’t the only sector in the food and beverage industry to draw buyer attention, with the sale of food manufacturer Menora Foods receiving interest from a number of prospective buyers. The owner of Wattle Valley dips has held talks with offshore and local trade buyers as well as a selection of private equity firms ahead of what is tipped to be a $100m sale.

Menora is just one of a number of local outfits to be put on the market in recent months, with part of the McConnell Dowell engineering business potentially the latest local operation to go under the hammer. According to the AFR, the electrical division of McConnell Dowell, Electrix, will be hived off through a multi-million dollar sale at the behest of the firm’s owner, South Africa’s Aveng.

Finally, women’s wear retailer Noni B has confirmed sale talks are ongoing, while a consortium including Leighton Holdings’ John Holland division, Capella Capital and Honeywell has won the right to build the $670m Ravenhall Prison in Victoria, the AFR reports. It’s a timely result for Leighton given it placed a ‘for sale’ sign on John Holland a few weeks ago.

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