Lowy family to sell its entire stake in Westfield Retail Trust
THE Lowy family's own investment vehicle, run by eldest son David, is looking to raise close to $665 million through the sale of its entire 7 per cent stake in the Westfield Retail Trust.
The broking house UBS has been instructed to sell 214.8 million securities in WRT, at $3.09 apiece. It is currently being undertaken by way of a fixed-price bookbuild.
The sale comes only 24 hours after the joint chief executives, Steven and Peter Lowy, reported an 18 per cent rise in net profit to $1.7 billion for the Westfield group's full-year result.
The spin-off Westfield Retail Trust, which has a 50 per cent stake in the Australian and NZ centres, reported a net profit of $830.8 million for 2012, down from $849.1 million a year earlier, due to a fall in some property valuations. Both groups said the results came amid a tough retail sales environment in Australia, which is being partially offset by a rise in sales in the United States and Britain.
The Lowy family has extensive interests in a range of assets, and has been steadily selling down its direct holdings. In the parent group Westfield it holds about 8 per cent.
Westfield Retail Trust was formed in December 2012 to own a half share in Westfield's 54 shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand, worth about $12 billion.
By separating the businesses, the Westfield Group will focus on developing and upgrading existing centres across the globe, while the trust will manage the Australian and NZ centres.
Westfield Retail Trust's full-year distributable earnings were $572.6 million, 2 per cent on the previous corresponding period and in line with market expectations.
JPMorgan's analysts said Westfield's profit was a solid and predictable result.