No shortage of interest in retirement assets

OVERSEAS super funds and property specialists are among several parties interested in the retirement assets of Stockland, should they be put up for sale as part of a restructure.

OVERSEAS super funds and property specialists are among several parties interested in the retirement assets of Stockland, should they be put up for sale as part of a restructure.

Analysts say parties such as Britain's Henderson Group and Blackstone of the US, among others, have shown interest in assets being retired.

Speculation is mounting as the Australian real estate investment trust sector enters the reporting season for the first half of 2012-13.

Australand, itself the subject of takeover talk, starts the season in earnest on Thursday, with forecasts of strong figures compared with the previous corresponding period.

Its results are for the full year as its financial year ends in December.

Analysts at JPMorgan say the main item to look for in the results is the latest guidance. The broker estimates growth of 5.6 per cent in earnings per share.

"The bulk of this [forecast] is coming from higher net operating income from the commercial and industrial developments and the benefit of selling lower yielding assets including the Crest Hotel and 80 Alfred Street, Milsons Point," JPMorgan said.

"We are also awaiting any further comments on discussions with GPT or other interested parties, including the major shareholder CapitaLand."

Last month, CapitaLand's directors confirmed they were reviewing the stake in Australand.

Investors will also be looking for comments on the Australand residential business, amid expectations contracts on hand will be about $350 million - in line with last year and a relatively flat outlook for earnings before interest and tax this financial year.

Stockland's new chief executive, Mark Steinert, will release his maiden half-year result next Wednesday as the market speculates on his plans to sell assets.

There have been suggestions that one strategy could be to create a separately listed fund for the retirement assets.

However, given the quality of the properties, a sale in one line or individually to interested overseas investors could also occur at the right price.

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