GPT Group FY profit slips

Property group targets growth in funds under management, revenue also falls.

GPT Group (GPT) says it is targeting $10 billion growth in funds under management and expects economic growth to remain below trend this year after its full-year net profit fell slightly.

Net profit after income tax expense attributable to stapled security holders fell by 3.9% to $571.5 million in the year to December.

Total revenues and other income fell by 4.6% to $948.2 million in the full year.

GPT Group will pay a distribution for the six months to December of 10.3 cents per stapled security on March 21 to shareholders on the record at December 31.

Chief executive officer Michael Cameron said although the group forecast below-trend growth, there was evidence of renewed confidence in the local economy, with stable low interest rates and a lower Australian dollar likely to support conditions improving.

"We believe that a quality portfolio with low costs will deliver the best returns over time," Mr Cameron said.

"We will continue to be opportunistic with our capital and ensure our capacity is used in the right way.

"In 2014 GPT is targeting a total return of greater than 9% and is confident the current portfolio will deliver earnings per share growth of three per cent for the full year."

This year GPT expects to have a 100% distribution payout ratio of adjusted funds from operations, he said.

The group said it maintained a strong balance sheet, with low gearing of 22.3% and significant capacity for asset acquisitions and security buybacks.

GPT said it reduced debt costs by 50 basis points and reactivated a security buy-back.

In 2013, the group completed $1.8 billion in transactions and developments, which it said significantly enhanced the quality of its portfolio.

The group said will continue to have at least 90% of earnings coming from core Australian property, and is targeting growth of an extra $10 billion in funds under management over time.

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